Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has revealed the club’s Spanish contingent was a big pull for him as he completed his £71.6 million move from Atletico Madrid at the end of the transfer window.
Kepa’s transfer from Spain is the most expensive deal ever for a goalkeeper.
The move eclipsed previous record-holder Alisson, who joined Liverpool just weeks prior for £66 million.
Kepa has played all 360 minutes of Premier League football on offer so far.
It is clear that the stopper is still settling into life at a new club, but he does have two clean sheets to his name from four games.
The former Athletic Bilbao man will be hoping to excel this season, with lots of expectations on his shoulders.
Kepa points to compatriots’ influence
Chelsea’s deal to sign Kepa came fairly out of the blue.
It has since transpired that the club had been tracking him, but to everyone else it seemed a surprise.
Kepa has spoken of a big reason he felt comfortable enough moving to Stamford Bridge.
As reported by the London Evening Standard, he said: “It was a gamble and I’m happy to take this step, I want to enjoy it. I’m getting used to my new life: a new city, new team, but it’s been positive because when things start well on the pitch, it makes everything easier.
“I have felt valued. In the last few years, a lot of Spaniards have done important things here and that’s good for those of us to arrive most recently.
“It is important that there were team-mates in the team that I already knew before, [Cesar] Azpilicueta and [Alvaro] Morata. It has helped me settle in faster.”
As well as Azpilicueta and Morata, the Blues also have Cesc Fabregas, Marcos Alonso and Pedro.
An effective transfer market tactic?
Having a group of players with the same nationality clearly helps in the transfer market.
Perhaps the Blues might have struggled to convince Kepa to join if not for the existing players.
We may have paid his release clause, but the player still had to agree to the move.
To have a large contingent of Spaniards might serve the club well in future windows, with La Liga playing host to some wonderfully talented players.