In a new series of articles, FantasySports.co.uk will analyse the likely formation and performance impact that players would have on some of the Premier League’s greatest clubs. Today, we ask the question: ‘Analysis: How will Kepa Arrizabalaga fit in at Chelsea?’
Our analysis series is to assist Fantasy Premier League managers in understanding the impact Kepa Arrizabalaga could have next season in the English top-flight.
Analysis: How will goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga fit in at Chelsea?
Chelsea finally got their man, sort of. The club had been linked with a goalkeeper all summer with the impending departure of starting shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois. Chelsea lost out on their No. 1 target Alisson Becker to Liverpool, and the move for Kepa Arrizabalaga seemed to appear from nowhere in the last few days.
Chelsea have paid £71 million for Kepa’s services. It is a world-record fee for a goalkeeper and eclipses the one Liverpool paid for Alisson in July. But what does that fee get the club?
For starters, Kepa is just 23-years old and is in the early stages of his professional career. Developed by Athletic Bilbao’s academy, he made his first-team breakthrough in 2016. Kepa played just two seasons with the Basque club tallying 53 matches in goal.
Kepa finished seventh in La Liga clean sheets last season with just seven in 30 matches. The man Courtois was sold to replace at Real Madrid, Keylor Navas also recorded seven clean sheets. Interestingly, Kepa had the chance to join Real Madrid in January. However, the goalkeeper rejected the move after Real Madrid paid his release clause.
Kepa’s low clean sheet tally should concern Chelsea supporters. Athletic Club finished 16th in La Liga allowing 49 goals, which was the seventh lowest in the league. Athletic Club’s downfall was scoring, which Kepa couldn’t improve.
The Spanish shot-stopper will go right into the Chelsea side as Maurizio Sarri’s first-choice goalkeeper. Replacing Courtois won’t be easy. The good news is Kepa is young and can be at Chelsea for years to come. He has been praised for his lightning quick reflexes and shot-stopping ability. Although he wasn’t the goalkeeper Chelsea initially wanted, he is a good choice to replace Courtois.
There will most likely be growing pains, however. The season kicks off on Friday and Kepa will need a crash course in learning how to play with his teammates. Fantasy managers may decide to pass on Kepa, but at just £5.5m in Fantasy Premier League, he could be a great choice to start in goal.