The time has come for the Chelsea hierarchy to admit where they may have got it wrong in the transfer market and correct their previous mistake for the benefit of the team.
The Chelsea board don’t get too much wrong. But the deal which took Kepa Arrizabalga to Stamford Bridge remains something of a black mark on the club’s record in the transfer market. Also, he was chief among the deals in recent years that prompted questions that hadn’t been asked before.
Situation of Kepa in Chelsea:
Flopped transfer deals, protracted negotiations for players and a series of fallouts with different managers pockmarked the transfer windows that started during Antonio Conte’s time at the club and continued until the summer that saw the likes of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz arrive under Frank Lampard. It has taken so long for the board to offload some of the deadwood that they had purchased. Some fringe players still remain on Chelsea’s wage books, blocking the potential for more necessary transfers.
But, finally, there looks to be some light emerging at the end of the tunnel with the Premier League’s second-highest-paid goalkeeper potentially leaving this summer amid reports of Chelsea expecting interest.
That’s right, Kepa Arrizabalaga could be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge as Chelsea begin to sort out some of the problems that have prevented them from continuing to move forward with their squad build.
Kepa reportedly earns £155,000 per week courtesy at Chelsea. Only Ben Chilwell, Timo Werner, N’Golo Kante, and Romelu Lukaku have said to earn more than him. Edouard Mendy earns significantly less despite clearly establishing himself as the undisputed No.1 at Stamford Bridge.
Fans have witnessed the Blues miss out on a number of key players in the past such as Jan Oblak and Virgil van Dijk because of the club’s apparent failure to negotiate the right wages and price as part of a deal. These players still remain on Chelsea’s books despite all being on the periphery of first-team matters for almost the entirety of their respective spells at the club.
Role of Mendy :
There’s no shame in backing any manager’s selections in the transfer market only to receive nothing tangible from it. Failing to make use of players who continue to take a wage home each week causes more angst among supporters than the initial decision to recruit.
The change in transfer policy starts with Kepa Arrizabalaga. As much as I wanted the Spaniard to succeed at Chelsea, his wages are far too high for a backup goalkeeper. It also raises questions over Mendy’s standing if his deputy remains on a better contract.
I have no doubt in my mind that Kepa is first-choice material for another club. He has proven it with the chances he has taken when Mendy has not been available but is clearly a level below the Senegalese. He deserves praise for how he has fared in Mendy’s absence due to his successful African Cup of Nations journey.
Kepa will be the first name on the list of many players that Chelsea will need to sell to fund an influx of new talent this summer. Overseeing those departures will make for a more streamlined squad, correct previous errors, and lay the foundations for an important summer of transfer activity at the club.