Chelsea confirmed the signing of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga on Wednesday night as they secured an immediate replacement for Thibaut Courtois.
As per BBC Sport, the Belgian international is set to complete a move to Real Madrid on Thursday and so the Blues needed to act quickly to ensure that they filled the void he leaves behind at Stamford Bridge.
Sensibly, it would appear as though they had a deal in place prior to Courtois leaving, as Kepa was announced as their latest summer signing almost immediately after news broke of the high-profile exit.
As noted by Sky Sports, the 23-year-old has seen Chelsea eclipse the £67m spent by Liverpool on Alisson as the £71.6m deal taking him away from Athletic Bilbao has now set a new world-record for the most expensive fee spent on a goalkeeper.
Speaking to the club’s site after his move, he was evidently delighted: “It’s a very important decision for me, for my career, and also for my personal life.
“So many things attracted me to the club, all the titles the club has won, the other players, the city, the English Premier League. It’s an accumulation of things, and I am very glad Chelsea has decided to trust me and to take me in as well.”
In turn, the pressure will now not only be on the Spaniard’s shoulders to prove his worth and ensure that Chelsea were right to show so much faith in him to replace Courtois, but also to live up to the price-tag as he will be expected to establish himself as the No.1 choice in west London for years to come.
He may not have to wait too long for his first taste of Premier League action, as Chelsea’s official site note that while he will train with his teammates on Thursday, he could be in line to make his debut for the club in their league opener against Huddersfield at the weekend.
That will be a decision that Maurizio Sarri must take as he may feel as though it’s a risk to throw his new signing in at the deep end immediately. Nevertheless, having spent such a hefty fee on Kepa, perhaps Chelsea expect immediate results and he may well miss out on getting a chance to entirely settle before starting.