Chelsea admitted defeat in the most expensive Kepa Arrizabalaga experiment over the summer, bringing in Édouard Mendy from Rennes just as the season was starting. And so far, that decision is paying off — though it should be noted that Kepa’s first season at Chelsea, especially at the beginning, wasn’t bad either.
But that still leaves us with the problem of having an expensive goalkeeper (not just in the fee, but wages as well) who isn’t playing much, if at all. And that’s not ideal for Kepa either, especially as his future career prospects are concerned. After all, he’s just 26, young for a goalkeeper, and presumably with plenty of years ahead of him in professional football and club and international level.
However, it’s also not as simple as just booting Kepa out the door, especially in the pandemic economic climate. A loan might be feasible, especially one subsidized by Chelsea, which is perhaps what Lampard was hinting at when he was quizzed about the situation in Friday’s press conference.
“Well at the moment he’s our player and I think the situation is clear, Edou’s come in, he’s been playing regularly as the number one for us. And when Kepa came in for the Champions League game he did well, and he’s trained really well. His attitude around the place has been brilliant.
“So I won’t be drawn on that one at the moment, he’s our player, we’ll see how January goes. But I don’t want to be alluding to what might or might not be.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
Lampard managed to say quite a bit there despite his stated desire to not say anything on the matter. That’s not to say that Kepa’s definitely leaving this month, but it sure sounds like we’re keeping our ears to the ground just in case something’s on the horizon.