Kepa Arrizabalaga didn’t hesitate when the opportunity to join Real Madrid was suddenly presented to him. And in fairness, Chelsea didn’t hesitate much either.
We were already ready for him to leave for Munich, to help out Thomas Tuchel. Robert Sánchez had been brought in as a challenger, and while Kepa was set to keep his starting job at least initially, we expected it to be a strong competition.
But then Thibaut Courtois suffered an unfortunate ACL tear, and suddenly two of the greatest teams in the history of world football were vying for a goalkeeper who was barely an afterthought of the football world not so long ago and could barely sniff a solid transfer rumor let alone allow Chelsea to recoup any of our investment from when we rather unwisely made him the most expensive goalkeeper ever (and still).
While Kepa did have a decent season last year, especially when compared with how the rest of the team were doing, surely no one could’ve predicted that he’d be able to leverage that into a dream move to Real Madrid. Sometimes those stars do align quite famously.
“Last year was a very good season for me, collectively we didn’t meet our objectives, nor were we in the position we wanted, but I think that in terms of personal performance and how I felt, it was a great season.
“[Yes,] it is true that at Chelsea Pochettino wanted me to stay and he told me that he was going to play, that he trusted me, but I thought that a change would be good for me. I wanted a change.
“Thomas Tuchel called me. We were close to going to Munich. Due to circumstances such as the injury, unfortunately, of a colleague, the possibility arose and...”
-Kepa Arrizabalaga; source: Marca via Google Translate
...the rest is history? Or at least Kepa’s surely hoping he can make history and impress enough to earn a move permanently.
While Real do not have buy-option in the loan, Kepa’s already leading the charm offensive to do a reverse Mateo Kovačić (for him we actually had a buy-option in the contract back in the day).
In any case, good luck Kepa. Hope it works out better for you than it did for ol’ Eden Hazard.... (So far Kepa’s earned two wins from two with one clean sheet, and a recall to the national team, too.)