Chelsea has confirmed the signing of Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for around £71 million – the value of his buy-out clause – and there’s a chance the move could positively impact Alvaro Morata.
The 23-year-old Spanish goalkeeper someone who has come completely out of the blue in the past 48 hours. He replaces Thibaut Courtois, who is expected to force through his move to Real Madrid on Thursday.
Initial opinions are pretty split about the move for Kepa. Some believe it’s a major panic buy induced by Courtois. Others are happy to see some decisiveness amid a sticky situation.
One thing that could come out of Chelsea signing Kepa for such a big fee is the potential improvement of struggling striker Morata.
The 25-year-old got off to a bright start last season following his £58 million move from Real Madrid. However, he struggled to maintain any kind of consistency in the second half of the campaign.
He’s had a tough pre-season; including a poor display in the Community Shield against Manchester City last weekend. It’s noteworthy, however, that the team as a collective were sub-par at Wembley.
Burdensome Price Tag
Morata has been playing like a man suffering from the burden of his own huge price tag; luckily the arrival of Kepa means he is no longer the most expensive ever Chelsea player.
Morata has spent a long time playing without confidence like he’s been distracted by something. If his fee has indeed been weighing on his mind, then the massive deal for Kepa might go some way; helping him get over that.
Chelsea fans are desperate to see him improve, and the potential relief of pressure brought about by the Kepa signing, combined with Maurizio Sarri’s previous successes managing Dries Mertens and Gonzalo Higuain, could see him finally turn the corner.