Chelsea may be searching high and low for someone to keep Kepa company — or to replace him, but that seems rather unlikely — but the rumor mill hasn’t exactly caught fire in this regard just yet. And yet, even if all three of Havertz, Silva, and Chilwell are signed, we are still left with the big problem at goalkeeper, which will require attention.
One name briefly mentioned back in February, when Kepa’s eventual fate started to be seriously under consideration, was Lille OSC goalkeeper Mike Maignan. He may not be Mike of The Mechanics, but maybe he could still fix the position for us?
Sky Sports claim that we are “considering” a move for the 25-year-old, who “would” be available for around €30m. Pocket change.
It shouldn’t go unnoticed that Maignan has two years left on his Lille contract, so if he were to try to push for an extension, crediting Chelsea with interest would be a solid negotiating tactic from his camp.
But let’s assume our interest is indeed credible, like Maignan’s credentials.
The former France U21 international (currently on the fringes of the senior team) has been Lille’s first-choice goalkeeper since 2017-18, earning the post from veteran Vincent Enyeama. The following term, he was chosen Goalkeeper of the Year by the French PFA as Lille finished a surprise second place in Ligue 1. Lille conceded just 33 goals in 38 games that season, two less than champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Maignan was doing well last season, too, before that was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, he was one of the best goalkeepers on the continent when it came to stopping crosses, with a 11.5% success rate — third best in Ligue 1, and seventh best across the big five European leagues according to FBref. He might not show as well in terms of shot-stopping as, say, Reims’ Predrag Rajković, but he would certainly be good competition and eventual substitute for Kepa.