Kepa Arrizabalaga has put the wheels in motion for his move to Chelsea by paying his $91 million release clause.
While the summer transfer window is always fascinating, the one that is very quickly about to come to an end has been an absolute rollercoaster. The amount of will-they won't-they situations going on at Chelsea alone is enough to get even the most die-hard soccer fans through the month between the World Cup ending and the new Premier League season beginning.
As we head towards Thursday's deadline, the most drama at Stamford Bridge has been revolving around the club's goalkeeping situation. It is common knowledge that current Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois wants a transfer to Real Madrid, and he made it clear that he wants to push that move through by not returning for pre-season training on Monday. The Belgian is expected to arrive at the Bernabeu on Thursday.
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri made it clear that he wouldn't let Courtois go unless he had a replacement lined up, and on Tuesday that replacement was revealed. Kepa Arrizabalaga is on the cusp of making Stamford Bridge his new stomping ground. A name that many Premier League fans probably aren't too familiar with. He has been the first team keeper for Athletic Bilbao since 2016 and is known as Kepa to the fans.
Kepa moved one step closer to becoming a Chelsea player on Wednesday by paying La Liga his $91 million release clause, as reported by BBC. This is the way deals tend to be done in Spain. The money is deposited with La Liga and then passed on to the selling club once the deal has been done, with Chelsea obviously footing the bill.
The transfer will break the transfer record for a goalkeeper for the second time this summer. A few short weeks ago, Liverpool paid a reported $86 million for Brazilian stopper, Alisson. Kepa's asking price is so high for a number of reasons. He is only 23 years old, already has international experience with his native Spain, and signed a contract extension with Bilbao back in January that extends to 2025. Sarri will be hoping that it's $91 million well spent and due to his young age, Kepa could be a Chelsea player for a very long time should things go his way.