27-year-old was really considering leaving Chelsea this summer

'Checked his options': Thomas Tuchel admits 27-year-old Chelsea player really thought about leaving this summer

Thomas Tuchel has told Football London that Kepa Arrizabalaga was close to leaving Chelsea this summer.

The Spaniard had a number of offers on the table for him to leave Stamford Bridge, notably having a potential reunion on the table with Maurizio Sarri at Lazio.

His confidence dwindled at Chelsea during Frank Lampard’s time at the helm, with him turning to deputy Willy Caballero for the biggest games of the season in his one full campaign in charge.

Photo by Harriet Lander – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

His time in the first team saw him become mostly a cup goalkeeper, with the arrival of Edouard Mendy pushing him way off the strongest 11.

This no doubt left him evaluating his future, with his Spain career also suffering due to his lack of minutes in West London.

Kepa was close to leaving

Tuchel has claimed that he came close to leaving the club, although his personal desire was to keep the 27-year-old at the Blues.

He said: “He checked his options [in the summer] which we were aware of.

“They were not satisfying for him or for us, so he stayed. I am very happy about that. I was always very clear with him that I wanted him to stay. And from my point of view, he’s absolutely ready to play. It’s on us if we give him the chance or not but he’s 100% ready given how he behaves and how trains.”

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

A return to the first team could be on the cards for Kepa, following a tough start to the season for Edouard Mendy.

The goalkeeper was bailed out by a controversial VAR call against West Ham at the weekend, sparing his blushes in the process.

The incident has apparently left him in a lot of pain too, with Tuchel claiming he may not be fit for tomorrow’s game against Dinamo Zagreb. This could see the first appearance of the season for Kepa, and a potential route forming to return to the first team.

Jack is a writer for The Chelsea Chronicle. He has been a part of GRV Media since June 2022. He has a First Class Honours degree in Football Journalism from the University of Derby, graduating in 2021. Jack has experience working freelance for The Sun and The Athletic, whilst also being published for the Non-League Paper and reporting for Burton Albion's academy side. He is a lifelong Chelsea fan and will debate with anyone about everything and anything football related. He also holds a passion for gaming and music, and thinks he knows every word to every Oasis song ever released