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Report: Chelsea keeping a keen eye on 27-year-old Lazio star

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Transfer News: Chelsea show interest in Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha.

Transfer News: Chelsea show interest in Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha 

Chelsea are believed to be interested in the services of Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha, whose contract is due to expire at the end of this month.

The Blues are believed to be in the market for a new goalkeeper, as Kepa Arrizabalaga is looking to bring the curtains down on his Stamford Bridge adventure. Since signing for Chelsea in the summer of 2018 for a then club-record fee, it has been quite the ride for the Spaniard. 

Going from hero – thanks to his penalty-saving heroics which inspired Chelsea to the Europa League in 2019, to zero – making a series of costly blunders which relegated him to being second-choice, to hero again – thanks to his inspiring role in Chelsea’s Super Cup and Club World Cup triumphs, Kepa will be leaving Chelsea having won it all except for the Premier League. 

Transfer News: Chelsea show interest in Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha.
Except for the Premier League, Kepa has won it all at Chelsea. (Photo by Jose Breton)

However, the 27-year-old is seeking a move away this window in a bid to play regularly elsewhere. Kepa still has the desire to make Spain’s 23-man squad for the World Cup later this year, so playing every week and performing consistently at a high level holds the key to impressing national team boss Luis Enrique. 

Albanian goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha is reportedly being lined-up as a potential number two to undisputed first-choice custodian Edouard Mendy, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano (h/t Daily Mail). 

Chelsea are also closing in on teenage goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, but the American is expected to remain on loan at his current club Chicago Fire in the MLS. 

Transfer News: Chelsea show interest in Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha.
Thomas Strakosha is being lined up as a potential replacement for Kepa. (Giuseppe Bellini/GettyImages)

Will Strakosha make a good replacement for Kepa? 

Despite falling down the pecking order, Kepa has always reeked of a strong personality who has stood tall through severe adversity. His impact while facing penalties has been incredible. 

He has saved seven spot-kicks in total, which is the most by any goalkeeper in Chelsea’s history, one more than club legend Petr Cech. 

Whether Strakosha can have a similar impact remains to be seen, but his track record suggests that we can expect him to be a safe pair of hands. He kept 11 clean-sheets in 31 appearances for Lazio across all competitions last term – not groundbreaking, but not bad. 

London rivals Fulham are also interested in Strakosha, but the latest development is surely a setback for the Cottagers. However, there’s one thing they can offer that Chelsea can’t. 

Transfer News: Chelsea show interest in Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha.
Edouard Mendy is Chelsea’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

While the Blues can offer the prospect of challenging for silverware every year, Fulham can try and convince Strakosha with the chance to be the No. 1 keeper for a Premier League side. If the goalkeeper is worried about his development as a player, then maybe Fulham makes more sense. 

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The choice for Strakosha is between trophies and regular play-time because as of now, he can’t be having both. The opportunity to play for a club such as Chelsea does not come along often and it remains to be seen if the 27-year-old will seize it with both hands.

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