The £71 million price tag for Kepa was not the only eyebrow-raising detail of his transfer. The Spaniard was given a seven-year contract, implying that Chelsea see him as their number one goalkeeper for the next decade.
Therefore, Marcin Bulka has been left in a difficult position. At only 18, he impressed as a starting ‘keeper during pre-season.
Many Chelsea fans were open to the idea of Bulka starting a fair number of matches this season. Eventually if he would then become the new number one at some point in the next few seasons.
Signing a goalkeeper such as Jack Butland or Kasper Schmiechel to fill the starting berth for several seasons, while Bulka developed, would have improved the young Pole’s prospects at Chelsea.
Now, he may hardly play this season as Willy Caballero is in line to fill in when Kepa is rested. In the long term, Kepa is seemingly in for the long haul.
Bulka has time on his side. Just as Chelsea handled Thibaut Courtois’ development, a long-term loan to a high level club or even a transfer with a buy-back clause would be best for his development at this stage.
Of course, just as Courtois pined for a return to Spain, Kepa may also wish to go back to his homeland before his seven-year contract runs out.
In that eventuality, Bulka may find himself in line for a Chelsea role after all. But for now, patience is key.