Having managed to arrange the loan departure of our current record signing, Chelsea could possibly do the same for our previous record signing as well. (Not a great record!)
Kepa Arrizabalaga, still the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, has been surplus to requirements for the last two years, since Édouard Mendy’s arrival – and had been surplus to our nerves for the two years prior to that – but while he’s been a steady and at times even brilliant backup (especially in penalty shootouts), and has been a model professional throughout, surely the best course of action for his career would be to start playing regularly again.
As with Romelu Lukaku, no clubs are in any danger of repeating our poor financial decisions, but just as with Lukaku, perhaps we can find a loan solution. Kepa had been linked with such possibilities before, but this summer seems the most likely for something like that to actually materialize. Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio are certainly one possibility, but according to Foot Mercato, it’s OGC Nice who are actively pushing to make this happen right now.
Nice, who finished fifth in Ligue 1 last season, lost their long-time number one, Walter Benítez, a free transfer to PSV just the other day. While their backup, a certain Marcin Bułka has been confirmed to stay – they made the former Chelsea prospect’s loan from PSG permanent for € 2m – Nice evidently want another option in goal as well. Bułka played for them six times last season, just once in the league, so you can certainly understand their slight apprehension over giving the 22-year-old all the keys to the kingdom straight away.
It would be a bit ironic to see Kepa and Bułka together since part of the reason the latter left Chelsea in 2019 was due to the former’s arrival on a world record fee to replace Thibaut Courtois, but funny things like that can happen in football. Of course, that’s all assuming that this story is true, and that Kepa would want to go to Nice, and that we would be okay with the terms of the deal.
Chelsea have plenty of options to replace Kepa as the backup, including but probably not limited to third goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, Loan Army standout Nathan Baxter, or potential signings like Thomas Strakosha or Gabriel Slonina.