Thomas Tuchel has reiterated today the trust he’s got in Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Kepa, 27, is stepping up as Chelsea’s starting goalkeeper in the absence of regular number Edouard Mendy due to the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Blues are currently preparing for a massive week, which starts on Wednesday night with the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final tie against Tottenham. They follow that up with a trip to leaders Manchester City in the Premier League.
Kepa, who’s started just one league game this season, seems likely to be in-between the sticks for both.
The Spain international has looked comfortable playing in his seven appearances across all competitions this campaign, but fans may learn a lot about his improvement during the next few days.
He’s largely been out of the firing line for the past year after a difficult time at Stamford Bridge, so he’s now got to show why the Blues once forked out £71million for him.
Tuchel has praised Kepa in Tuesday’s press conference by declaring him ready for action:
“We trust him and he is capable. It is not easy in his position because there’s not a lot of changes in the goalkeeping position,” Tuchel said.
“We have him and are so happy to have him… Just happy for him that he can show it because he is absolutely ready to show it.”
What size hit will Chelsea take on Kepa fee?
Kepa’s reputation has taken a bit of a battering since he moved to Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao in 2018.
Blues teammate Marcus Bettinelli, who’s the third-choice goalkeeper that got to play in the 5-1 FA Cup third round win against Chesterfield at the weekend, was recently full of praise for him. Interestingly, he pointed out that people forget how young he still is.
Aged 27, there is definitely still time for Kepa to rebuild his career and have plenty of successful years ahead of him.
It’ll be a surprise if that’s at Stamford Bridge, but he’s got a massive opportunity coming up to show his true ability.
A sensible guess may be he’s shipped back to Spain at some point. Chelsea need to braced for the fact they could lose at least half the £70million-plus they coughed up for him, though.