Thomas Tuchel concedes that Kepa Arrizabalaga deserves more game time
Speaking in the season’s final pre-match press conference before the Premier League clash against Watford as quoted by Football.London, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has spoken out about the future of number two Kepa Arrizabalaga and conceded that the Spaniard deserves more game time.
Kepa joined the Blues from Athletic Club back in 2018 and after a solid start to life in London, everything started going downhill. The Spanish shot-stopper has since then gone on to become sort of a laughing stock but he still continues to be the back-up to Eduardo Mendy at Stamford Bridge.
The 27-year-old goalkeeper started off this season on a fairly positive note and has managed to make 15 appearances this campaign of which he kept eight clean sheets. Just when things started to seem bright, an infamous penalty shoot-out debacle in the final of the Carabao Cup didn’t do him any favours.
Tuchel admits that Kepa is a far better goalkeeper who deserves more game time, and he will understand if the Spanish international wants to leave the club for regular game time.
“It depends what he wants and it depends what his plans are, but I know that we are very privileged to have Edou (Mendy) and Kepa in our squad. I know for sure that Kepa is not happy about the situation and he deserves to play more and he can be a strong number one.”
“He arrived as a number one goalkeeper so the situation is not easy. I can tell you that he is a fantastic team player since day one and always was and never let anybody down. So no, we did not have this conversation. I know the goalkeepers coaches have these conversations at the moment and then we will take our time to speak with him, reflect what’s best, what the possibilities are and I’m, of course as a coach, super happy to have both strong goalkeepers. Let’s see.”
Time to cut the losses?
When Thibaut Courtois left us for Real Madrid in 2018, we were desperate to sign a goalkeeper and splurged the cash on Kepa Arrizabalaga. It’s fair to say that the decision hasn’t worked out.
The 27-year-old shot-stopper who showed a lot of promise for the Basque club has not been able to establish himself at Chelsea. He has always had a mistake in him and often fails to inspire confidence in the key moments. This has led to the Blues having to replace the Spaniard with a better goalkeeper.
Whilst it may not have worked out at Stamford Bridge, Kepa is too good a keeper to stay on the bench and waste his career. He has the ability to start for some other clubs and with regular game time, he could finally realise the potential he was showing back in Spain.
That said, it’s high time Chelsea accept that the Spaniard was an expensive mistake and decide to cut their losses with Kepa. The 27-year-old has a contract with the Blues till 2025 and if Chelsea decide to sell him, they could still recoup some money for him.
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Then again, it remains important to have a good backup. Liverpool have beaten us in three penalty shoot-outs in a row with three different goalkeepers between the sticks for them. There will be times when we need a deputy for Mendy and hence, any sale that sees Kepa leave must then be balanced out by reinforcing the goalkeeper department.
Nathan Baxter, 23, is one such candidate. He was loaned out to Hull City for the season but is now expected to return to the Bridge.
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