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Real Madrid set to sign non-Chelsea goalkeeper in January — report

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Athletic Club v Real Madrid - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

It’s been a bit quiet on the Spanish front recently for Thibaut Courtois rumors, but according to Spanish newspaper Marca, Real Madrid are set to spend €25 million on 23-year-old Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in January.

Bilbao are not known to sell prized players for cheap — see also: Aymeric Laporte — but their hands are somewhat tied in this case by Arrizabalaga's refusal to accept a new deal from the club that would likely push his release clause beyond the current €20 million figure. Kepa’s contract is expiring at the end of the season, but Real are looking to get the deal done in January and are apparently willing to do business at €25 million to avoid the complicated contract buyout event (similar to how Chelsea agreed a price for Diego Costa with Atlético back in 2014).

Arrizabalaga is uncapped but highly rated and is considered the second best Spanish goalkeeper after David De Gea. If Real do complete this transfer, it would likely mean an end to their pursuit of Courtois (and De Gea, too) — at least for the time being. As per Matt Law's report in the Telegraph, clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus are also interested in Courtois, though neither would fulfill his desire to return to Spain, which is one of the big factors in these negotiations.

As ever, there are no guarantees in football, but Real dropping out of the Courtois picture would surely be a helpful development in the goalkeeper signing a new long-term deal with Chelsea.

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