The Spain international became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper in 2018 but has since lost his starting position to Edouard Mendy
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel believes back-up goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is happy at the club and is ready to take his chance.
Kepa started and kept a clean sheet at the weekend as Chelsea defeated Tottenham 3-0, as regular starter Edouard Mendy missed out with injury.
The Spanish keeper, who joined Chelsea for €80 million in 2018 before losing his place last year to Mendy, is set to start again for the Blues in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie with Aston Villa.
What was said?
“He seems happy to me, he may not be happy with the situation but he is happy with where he is at and the part he plays in the team,” Tuchel said of Kepa.
“Everyone wants to play more minutes. We have contracts for 24 players including goalkeepers so we simply cannot give the same amount of minutes to everyone. It’s the same for the guys who play on the field but it is more dramatic for goalkeepers. That’s because we don’t change them during games so maybe it seems even worse or harder.
“I don’t feel Kepa like this. I feel an open guy, a humble guy, a super nice guy, a top, top professional sports guy who is a big part of this squad. I feel him happy. Maybe he could be even happier with more minutes but I don’t feel him concerned at the moment because he is pushing and fighting for his chances.
“You can’t force situations. I have a feeling with his mindset that he is here and he pushes with his calmness and positivity. He did not force it. He doesn’t have to prove to me that he is a good goalkeeper because I see it every day in training. Maybe that’s the point, that he does not try too hard to convince everybody that he is worth what the club paid.
“Who cares about what the club paid? So what. Money doesn’t matter now. The question is whether we can afford to have him as a goalkeeper.
“We have two super strong goalkeepers. Do we need them both? We have proof last weekend. He was a key factor to have a clean sheet in the weekend. It is as easy as that. Whether the money is too high or low, these measurements don’t matter to us. This pressure is off his shoulders and he deserves it to be off his shoulders so it is not his fault.”
What’s next for Chelsea?
After Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie, Chelsea are back in Premier League action with a high-profile clash against Manchester City on Saturday. On Tuesday, Tuchel said it would be a race against time for Mendy to be fit for the weekend.
“I hope he will be back in team training on Thursday,” Tuchel said of Mendy. “If it goes well, I hope he can be ready for Saturday but I don’t know right now.”