According to Duncan Castles, writing for the Sunday Times, Chelsea were willing to spend even more than the €80m it took to replace Thibaut Courtois with Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Chelsea had paid the 23-year-old’s release clause with just hours to go in the transfer window, although the move had been in the works for several weeks prior to that. But Chelsea also tried the same move on Jan Oblak, whose release clause at Atlético Madrid is a cool €100m. Castles’ report claims that even though Chelsea met the release clause, Oblak himself rejected the move — which is hardly surprising given the good thing he’s got going on at Atlético.
Jan Oblak rejected €100m move from Atletico Madrid to Chelsea before Kepa Arrizabalaga’s record transfer. #CFC #ATLETI #AthleticClub #ESP #SVNhttps://t.co/qNmmjACrh3 pic.twitter.com/wJwixDwwdJ— Duncan Castles (@DuncanCastles) August 12, 2018
As reward for his loyalty, Los Colchoneros are preparing a new contract for the 25-year-old, with improved wages as well as a release clause — they are required in Spain — set at €250m.
That amount surely reflects the new market reality as well, wherein the world record fee spent on a goalkeeper can be broken twice in quick succession, first by Liverpool with €75m Alisson and then Chelsea with €80m Kepa.
Good luck to whichever big team will be next in need of a starting goalkeeper!