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How does new Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa compare with Thibaut Courtois?

Kepa Arrizabalaga joins Chelsea after Thibaut Courtois signs for Real Madrid

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Chelsea smashed the world record fee for a goalkeeper by signing Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao for £71m - and an in-depth study suggests the youngster is an ideal replacement for the outgoing Thibaut Courtois.

The Blues swooped for the 23-year-old as Courtois swapped Stamford Bridge for the Bernabeu in a £35m deal - but is the Spain prospect capable of filling the Belgian's boots in west London?

Sky Sports caught up with Sam Jackson, who heads the analytics consultancy arm of football agency World in Motion/ GK1, to find out...

Image: The stats suggest Kepa is on par with reported alternative target Jack Butland - but the Spaniard is superior at distribution

Jackson's data suggests Kepa is statistically almost identical to Courtois in ability and style - narrowly edging his predecessor in both shot-stopping and distribution.

Kepa now ranks as the Premier League's second-best stopper for distribution - behind only Ederson at Manchester City.

Thibaut Courtois poses during his presentation at the Santiago Bernabeu
Image: Courtois poses during his presentation at the Santiago Bernabeu

In terms of shot-stopping, the Spaniard ranks 10th out of 26 - with Manchester United 'keeper David de Gea leading the pack by some distance.

Athletic finished 16th in La Liga last term with Kepa between the sticks, whereas Chelsea ended the season fifth in the Premier League - so the former understandably conceded more goals, kept fewer clean sheets and made more saves.

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However, the two goalkeepers' stats for accurate passes, keeper sweepings and clearances are strikingly similar - although Chelsea's record signing will want to reduce his tally of two errors leading to goals last season.

Kepa & Courtois compared, league 2017/18

Stat Kepa Courtois
Minutes played 2,700 3,150
Clean sheets 7 15
Goals conceded 43 34
Saves 99 76
Errors leading to goals 2 0
Accurate passes 589 692
Accurate keeper sweepings 11 12
Clearances 21 17

De Gea required time to settle in at Manchester United when he moved to England as a 20-year-old in 2011, and time will tell whether Kepa requires similar patience and if Maurizio Sarri's £71m gamble will pay off. But the stats show why Chelsea were so keen to bring him in to replace Courtois.

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