Kepa ready to fight to be Lam­pard’s first choice

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport / Football - By Matt Law

Kepa Arrizabala­ga is pre­pared to stay to fight for his Chelsea place, even if the club sign a new goal­keeper.

Chelsea are chas­ing Rennes’ Edouard Mendy, for whom they have al­ready had one bid re­jected, with head coach Frank Lam­pard keen to strengthen that area of his squad.

Lam­pard dropped Kepa for Chelsea’s two most im­por­tant games last sea­son, the vic­tory over Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers that se­cured Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion and the FA Cup fi­nal de­feat by Arsenal.

But de­spite Lam­pard’s doubts and Chelsea’s pur­suit of Mendy, Kepa re­mains de­ter­mined to try to make a suc­cess of his Stam­ford Bridge ca­reer, which is about to en­ter its third sea­son.

He still be­lieves he can win over Lam­pard and hopes to be given a fair chance to fight for the No1 po­si­tion if a new goal­keeper is signed.

Petr Cech, the tech­ni­cal and per­for­mance ad­viser, has al­ready in­sisted that Chelsea have not given up on Kepa, and the club have not re­ceived any sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­est in the 25-year-old.

The sit­u­a­tion could change if a club make an at­trac­tive of­fer for Kepa, but that is rated as un­likely given the fi­nan­cial im­pact of the coro­n­avirus and the fact he re­mains the most ex­pen­sive goal­keeper in the world fol­low­ing his £71.6mil­lion move from Ath­letic Bil­bao.

While Kepa will re­main the world’s most ex­pen­sive goal­keeper, he is likely to lose his la­bel as Chelsea’s record sign­ing.

Kai Havertz has agreed to join them in a deal worth £72 mil­lion plus add-ons, with the at­tack­ing mid­fielder ex­pected to link up with his new team-mates af­ter in­ter­na­tional duty with Ger­many.

World record: Kepa Arrizabala­ga was signed by Chelsea for £71.6 mil­lion in Au­gust 2018

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