Friday, 17 August, 2018

Transfer: Chelsea sign £71.8m goalkeeper from Athletic Bilbao

Willian has returned to training Willian has returned to training
Sergio Cook | 08 August, 2018, 18:06

Athletic Bilbao have confirmed that Kepa Arrizabalaga's release clause has been met as he closes in on a move to Chelsea.

At 80 million euros, Arrizabalaga will become the most expensive goalkeeper in football history, ahead of Liverpool's Alisson Becker, who moved from AS Roma for 75 million euros earlier in the transfer window.

The Spanish club's statement on Wednesday did not mention Chelsea.

"(He has ended) the relationship that linked him to us since the 2004-05 season and the amount of compensation established in the contract has been deposited".

"Athletic thank the player for his contribution throughout the time he has been at the club".

The west London club have made a late move to sign a new keeper after current No. 1, Thibaut Courtois, missed training, with the Belgian looking to force through a move to Real Madrid.

The Blues hope to have the deal wrapped up and announced later on Wednesday.

AS claim Kepa flew to Madrid from Bilbao on Tuesday and held meetings with his agent to look over Chelsea's contract offer.

Athletic do not negotiate when it comes to selling their top stars because they limit themselves to only signing Basque players, meaning the only way Chelsea could bring Kepa to Stamford Bridge was by activating his buyout clause.

The 26-year-old, named the best goalkeeper at the World Cup as Belgium finished third, has one year remaining on his contract and reportedly wishes to join Real Madrid.

While not discussing the status of the transfer, Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri said Tuesday that Kepa is "very young, but very, very good".

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