Chelsea reportedly rejected the chance to sign Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker in 2018, instead choosing to spend a world-record fee on Kepa Arrizabalaga.According to The Sun, the Blues initially targeted Alisson following the sudden departure of Thibaut Courtois as they were desperate for a new goalkeeper. The Brazilian shot-stopper was playing for AS Roma at the time, who knew that Chelsea were willing to pay top-dollar to get a top-class shot stopper.
Put off by the Italian club driving a hard bargain, the west London club turned their attention to Kepa. This allowed Liverpool to swoop in and sign Alisson for £66.8 million. The custodian has been worth every penny for the club, winning every major honor available to him in his 197 appearances.
The sweeper-keeper has been one of the most consistent keepers in European football and was the catalyst behind Liverpool’s stubborn new defense. In stark contrast to Alisson’s form, Kepa has been an abject disaster at Stamford Bridge since his move from Athletic Bilbao.The Spain international cost a record £71.6 million after Chelsea activated his release clause following Courtois’ departure. Kepa’s initial few seasons at the club were littered with errors that led to goals and his confidence appeared to be broken.But in the past few games under Graham Potter, Kepa has reclaimed his spot as the club’s number one goalkeeper ahead of Edouard Mendy. The Basque shot-stopper made a string of stunning saves to keep Aston Villa at bay in Chelsea’s most recent display as they claimed a 2-0 victory.Kepa is perhaps best remembered for an incident in the 2019 Carabao Cup final when Chelsea faced Manchester City. Despite then-manager Maurizio Sarri wanting to substitute the goalkeeper before a penalty shootout, Kepa seemingly refused to come off.
Graham Potter full of praise for Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga
Potter was once again asked about who the number one goalkeeper will be going forward with Mendy kept on the sidelines despite his return to fitness.Mendy’s form was on the decline prior to his injury and Kepa has taken full advantage of the situation. Potter couldn’t hide his delight over the goalkeeper’s form, as he told a press conference (per BBC Sport):
“He’s done really well and it’s really pleasing for everybody. I’ve been really impressed with his character and personality. He’s very professional and it’s nice when people like that get rewarded.