Italian side Lazio is looking to sign a new goalkeeper and has turned their attention to Chelsea back-up Kepa Arrizabalaga.
That’s according to a recent report from The Athletic, who claims the Serie A side would like to add Arrizabalaga to their squad but are struggling to afford his sky-high wages.
Arrizabalaga, 27, joined the Blues in 2018 following a blockbuster £72m move from Spanish side Sevilla.
However, despite arriving in London as the sport’s most expensive shot-stopper, the 27-year-old has endured a dreadful spell.
A series of poor performances and individual errors saw Chelsea forced to bring in another goalkeeper in the form of Edouard Mendy, who joined in 2020 from French side Stade Rennes.
Following what has been a hugely successful 18-months for Mendy, the African’s displays have now seen Arrizabalaga resign to nothing more than a backup role under manager Thomas Tuchel.
Hope could be offered to the Spanish keeper though as Mendy is now set to compete in the African Cup of Nations – leaving the door open for Arrizabalaga to be given one final opportunity to impress.
Speaking recently (as quoted by the Daily Mail) about his £72m star, Tuchel admitted to being pleased with the shot-stopper’s mental resilience.
“I am very happy in general,” Tuchel told reporters. “Happy is maybe not the right word, but I am super impressed with Kepa.
“It is not a surprise anymore because he is in the state of mind as a person, a character and a sportsman where he just delivers for us, because he does what he does best.
“This is what he shows every day in training and this is why he gets the reward. I am absolutely sure that this is the reason why he has these kinds of performances.
“I am super happy, we need him in this kind of shape. The goalkeepers are a strong group and Kepa is a big part of it.”
Regardless of his manager’s praise, there is no denying that Arrizabalaga is well behind Mendy in the club’s pecking order though.
With Lazio now emerging as a potential destination, although they must first find a way to afford the goalkeeper’s £170,000-per week ages, playing time assurances could be key as Arrizabalaga prepares to force his way into Spain’s squad in time for this summer’s Qatar World Cup.