For a hot-hot minute during the hot-hot days of the summer transfer window, it looked like Chelsea just might (have to) hand over the keys to the net to Polish teenager Marcin Bułka. The massive youngster was impressing in pre-season, and with Thibaut Courtois ssssssnaking off to Real Madrid and Chelsea having not yet broken the world record fee for a goalkeeper with £80m-man Kepa Arrizabalaga, Bułka’s prospects were unexpectedly on the rise.
When Kepa did arrive, it just added to the swing of emotions for the kid out of Poland, as he reflected in a recent interview with Przegląd Sportowy.
“The training base [at Cobham] in comparison with Poland, it is a different world. It is the world’s highest level. I was received very warmly, I felt comfortable, I was not stressed, because nobody looked askance at me.
“I felt that the club would bring in a goalkeeper after Thibaut’s departure, but I did not know that it was all that much [but] I’m not feeling worse because I just cannot. It is known that he does a good job, he can not be accused of anything. He is a very good goalkeeper, he is 24 years old, so there is a lot ahead of him.”
If that sounds like Bułka may be considering his options, that’s probably because he is. His contract is expiring at the end of the season. Chelsea have tabled an offer, but he has not signed. He wants to go on loan in January after rejecting interest from various teams in the summer, but Chelsea are unlikely to agree to that without him signing on the dotted line first — that’s an increasingly familiar situation we find ourselves in these days.
“There were eager clubs [in the summer, including from Serie B and the Eredivisie], but in London they wanted to stop me. I was told that it would be better for me. I thought about it and found out that there was no hurry.
“Yes [I want to go on loan if the situation does not change until the winer]. Anyway, there will be talks soon. The winter window begins at any moment, so it’s a matter of time when we will decide.
“I do not know what will happen [with my contract]. I got an offer to extend the contract, Chelsea wants to keep me for longer, but I have not made a decision yet.”
-Marcin Bułka; source: Przegląd Sportowy via Google Translate
It’s certainly a tough decision for Bułka with Arrizabalaga conceivably ahead of him for the foreseeable future. He says he likes living in London but even though he rejected Barcelona in favor of Chelsea in 2016, that won’t guarantee that he will be happy being a backup — which at this point he hasn’t even risen to, serving as the third goalkeeper behind Arrizabalaga and the veteran Wilfredo Caballero.