Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Chelsea flop fears being sent back to Stamford Bridge

Chelsea’s former club record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga fears being sent back to Stamford Bridge in the summer with his Real Madrid loan spell turning sour.

The Spain international, who cost the Blues an eye-watering £72.5 million in the summer of 2018, was deemed surplus to requirements in the summer by Mauricio Pochettino.

An injury to Thibaut Courtois, the man who Kepa replaced at Chelsea, handed the 29-year-old an unlikely opportunity to kickstart his career on loan at the Bernabeu.

Kepa’s stint at Real began encouragingly enough but the mistakes that plagued him throughout his time in the Premier League have crept back into his game.

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Indeed, the error-prone goalkeeper has made just one La Liga appearance since early November.

Carlo Ancelotti has promoted Ukraine international Andriy Lunin and it now looks as though Kepa will be restricted to featuring in the cup competitions at best.

The former Athletic Bilbao shot stopper did play in Real’s 5-3 win over rivals Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup earlier this week, but was criticised for another shaky display.

Given his recent demotion and the impending return to full fitness of Courtois, who suffered cruciate knee ligament injury during pre-season, Kepa is said to be worried about the prospect of being discarded by Real, according to The Sun.

A source told SunSport: ‘He has been very unlucky. He got injured while playing his best. He loves Madrid and really wants to stay. He will not give up.’

Kepa’s current Chelsea contract still has another 18 months to run, but the Blues have moved on in his absence.

Robert Sanchez and Djordje Petrovic are currently fighting it out to be the club’s No.1 and it will be interesting to see who Pochettino picks for tomorrow’s west London derby against Fulham.

Former Brighton star Sanchez is closing in on his return to fitness having missed the last seven games in all competitions.

Petrovic, 24, has impressed in the Spaniard’s absence and has been one of his side’s most impressive performers during an indifferent run of form for Pochettino’s side.

 

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