Regardless of whether Kepa Arrizabalaga stays and/or plays this season and beyond, the one thing we can be absolutely sure of is that Chelsea will be linked with just about any and available goalkeepers in the meantime.
We’ll also be linked with many who are unavailable or uninterested (if only I had a penny for every future Jan Oblak story!) — but the world’s best goalkeepers move very rarely. And that means we’ll get plenty of stories about second-tier talent. That’s not necessarily bad, as long as we can pick one who can then ascend to top-tier, like we had hoped (still hope?) with Kepa.
One such possible target could be Mike Maignan, who’s been starring in goal for the second best team in France, Lille OSC for the last couple years, and was in fact named the Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of Year last season. (Incidentally, Petr Čech never won this award, losing to Lyon’s Grégory Coupet both times.)
I’m not familiar with the work or the word of Eurosport’s Manu Lonjon, but he claims that Chelsea have been watching Maignan closely for several months — well, we did play against Lille twice earlier this season! — and that he would be the priority target this summer. The original source of this story seems to be Lonjon’s own tweet, so make of that what you will.
Meanwhile, another potential Chelsea target, distinctly less enticing than Maignan, has been Burnley’s Nick Pope.
Fortunately, the Clarets reportedly have no intention of selling one of the few goalkeepers statistically worse off this season than Kepa. Hurray!
“At least the questions will stop [now that window’s closed].”
-Sean Dyche; source: Lancs Live