Opinion: If Chelsea replace Kepa Arrizabalaga, it should be for Milan's Donnarumma

Chelsea have been linked with a number of goalkeepers as a replacement for Kepa Arizzabalaga but, if the Blues are to challenge for the title next season, they should go for AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Kepa’s heroics in Chelsea’s last two games, which resulted in back-to-back clean-sheets, may convince some of Blues fans to keep him as number one.

After all, Chelsea broke their transfer record – a staggering £71.5million – to bring the 25-year-old from Athletic Bilbao in summer 2018.

However, poor goalkeeping has been one of the major reasons why Chelsea are not challenging Liverpool and Manchester City this season, despite not being far-off defensively or offensively.

Shot-stoppers such as Ajax’s Andre Onana, Manchester United’s Dean Henderson (currently on loan at Sheffield United) to Trabzonspor’s Ugurkan Cakir have been reported as the potential summer signings for Chelsea.

To compete with Liverpool and City, who have top goalkeepers at their disposal (Alisson and Ederson Moraes respectively) Chelsea should target one of the best prospects in Europe, AC Milan’s Donnarumma.

(Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

Donnarumma’s contract and price tag

The 20-year-old had his breakthrough season in 2015/16 (when was only 16) and has been an established first choice for Milan. A young experienced goalkeeper, it sounds a perfect match for Frank Lampard’s youth movement.

Donnarumma’s contract will expire in summer 2021 and Milan could be forced to cash in this summer to avoid losing him for free.

According to Calciomercato, Milan would want a fee of £46.1million (€50m) for the Italian goalkeeper. Compared to what Chelsea spent on Kepa, or would need to pay for Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak, Donnarumma’s price tag seems like a good investment.

(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Performance comparison with Kepa Arizzabalaga

From 24 appearances in Serie A this season, Donnarumma has had the joint-most clean sheets (9) with 72% saves percentage (FBref).

For reference, Kepa has had six clean sheets from 25 appearances in the Premier League, with a worst save percentage among the league’s first-choice goalkeepers (57.7%) (FBref).

Kepa has the edge in passing accuracy (78.4% to Donnarumma’s 70.5%) but it could be attributed to Milan’s playing style, which often forced him to play long balls (Donnarumma has had an average 6.7 long balls per game, while Kepa has sent it long four times per game on average).

Looking at the statistics, along with Donnarumma’s contract situation, it would be foolish for Chelsea not to put him on top of the priority list this summer.

Gerry is a Chelsea supporter who has more than five years of experience in online publishing. He started out writing for Chelsea fan blogs during his high school years, before writing for several local sport news outlets. After graduating in NCTJ-accredited sports journalism MA at the University of Sunderland, he has worked as a freelance writer for The Chelsea Chronicle since 2020. He is a big fan of football statistics and strongly believes that sooner or later, the xG Gods always catch up. He is also a proud member of Michael Ballack fan club.