Chelsea in advanced talks to sign Kepa from Athletic Bilbao
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 08/08/18 12:43pm
Chelsea are in advanced talks to sign Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, according to Sky sources.
It is understood the 23-year-old - a Spain international with one cap - would cost the Blues £71.6m, which would be a world-record fee for a 'keeper.
Speaking after Chelsea's pre-season friendly win over Lyon, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri said: "I saw him one year ago.
"My first impression was that he is a very good goalkeeper, very young, but very, very good."
Reports in Spain on Tuesday evening have gone as far as to say that Chelsea's intentions are to fly the player to London on Wednesday and have him train on Thursday, with the hope he could make his debut in their season-opener against Huddersfield on Saturday.
Earlier on Tuesday, Sky Sports News reported that Kepa had emerged as a new target for the Blues as they look to find a replacement for Thibaut Courtois, who has told the club he wants to leave and join Real Madrid.
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Chelsea also have Diego Rico and Stoke's Jack Butland on their list - but Kepa has become their top priority over the course of the day.
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Butland remains an attractive deal because its much lower cost - around £30m - while sources have told Sky Sports News that Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri's top choice is Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid, but he would cost his £89m release clause.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid have offered Chelsea Matteo Kovacic on loan as sweetener as they attempt to get the deal for Courtois, who refused to train for a second day on Tuesday, over the line.
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