Report: Maurizio Sarri now wants to sign Chelsea 27-year-old player he previously called 'clever'

Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri reportedly wants to sign his former Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in January.

This is according to Corriere dello Sport, who claim the ex-Blues teacher is chasing after one of his pupils from a previous class.

Kepa once of Sarri’s classroom

Sarri oversaw Kepa’s switch to Stamford Bridge in 2018 for a then club-record fee.

Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images

Although the Spaniard enjoyed his best season in a Chelsea shirt under the spectacled Italian, the pair’s relationship hit a few rocks.


The infamous Carabao Cup final incident will live long in the memory for both player and coach.

Kepa’s refusal to leave the Wembley pitch arguably signalled the start of his downward spiral.

“I can kill him but I think this was right,” said Sarri after he dropped then reinstated the goalkeeper.

“His reaction today was very good. I know him well, he is very clever with a good mentality, he made a mistake and understands.”

Swept under the carpet

It appears water is now completely under the bridge between the pair, as the Lazio boss looks for a reunion.

Photo by Andrea Staccioli/Insidefoto/LightRocket via Getty Images

Corriere dello Sport state the Serie A side tried to sign Kepa on loan over the summer, but talks of a move fell through.

They suggest Chelsea were reluctant to strike such a part-time deal because they would have been forced to pay half of the ‘keeper’s £155,000-a-week (Sportrac) salary.

Instead, the London club decided to retain the services of their expensive shot-stopper.

A decision that has so far proved beneficial.

Kepa proved his worth in the UEFA Super Cup final, saving two penalties to earn Thomas Tuchel a second piece of silverware.

Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

He was literally on hand again in the Carabao Cup spot-kick victory against Aston Villa.

The 27-year-old then kept a clean sheet in the triumph over Tottenham Hotspur, deputising for Edouard Mendy.

Now Kepa is back in the good books, Sarri might have to try a bit harder if he plans to reconvene with his old work colleague.  

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.