Wilfredo Caballero has served as a most excellent backup — and at times even starting — goalkeeper over the past four years, but with the signing and arrival of Édouard Mendy in the summer transfer window, the 39-year-old was relegated to a firm third-choice after the first month of the season.
Mendy was just a small part of a massive summer spending spree, one that has yet to truly pay dividends, and one that has cost one head coach his job already. Lampard’s replacement, Thomas Tuchel may be unbeaten, but at the end of the day, he, too, will be judged on trophies and trophies alone.
This is the way.
“By club policy he is obliged to win something. In the years that I’ve been able to be here, the team always reached a final. Last season we won nothing but we lost two finals, and that is what gets you close to filling the trophy cabinets, playing in finals.
“Obviously, with the investment that was made, the idea was to fight for the Premier League as well; it’s a pity that the string of results we’ve had recently could not make up for the [points dropped] at the beginning. Both Liverpool and Manchester City had lost points in that part and we couldn’t take that advantage. Then City got [the top spot] back on the 17th, 18th matchday — they were already flying and have been since.”
The Premier League may be gone, but the club’s investment will surely pay dividends in the future. Of course, we had invested heavily in the goalkeeping position as well, more than any other team in history in fact, but with mixed results, to say the least.
For Caballero however, both Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga bring strong qualities to the table. Of course, Caballero isn’t going to criticize any of his current teammates too harshly, but his assessment of their individual strengths still has some value.
“Because of how young he is, Kepa has a lot to learn [though] he has already done a lot. He has great mastery of the ball game with his feet, he does it very well. [He] has a lot of leg power, good take-off, he gets great in one-on-one situations.”
“Mendy was a stranger [and] you have to take your hat off to Chelsea because the team did very well to look for him and not someone else of renown or with other marketing. He is almost 2 meters, he is very big, very fast and with a lot of explosiveness. He is gaining more confidence and plays better and better with his feet, because the football that Tuchel wants requires it. If the team goes up a level, he will be one of the greats to take into account.”
Certainly a glowing review on Mendy from Old Man Willy C.
As far as Caballero himself, he’s yet to make any decision regarding his career or what may be next. His Chelsea contract is up at the end of the season, which gives him the freedom to choose whatever his heart desires.
“Everything is still to be analyzed. This season I have the possibility to think, because in the last two I was tied to an automatic renewal clause, but now I can decide with myself and my family. I will wait for that moment and see what offers will come.”
-Wilfredo Caballero; source: Yahoo! via Google Translate
Regardless of his decision, we can thankful for the four years of reliable, solid service to Chelsea from Caballero. Quality backup goalkeepers are not easy to find, and he’s been one of the best in the business throughout.