Chelsea are now set to sign Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga as a replacement for Thibaut Courtois, who remains intent on joining Real Madrid.
Courtois failed to report for training on Monday as expected and has continued with his self imposed strike after missing another training session at Cobham today
Stoke City and England goalkeeper Jack Butland emerged as a target soon after it became apparent Courtois had gone AWOL. But, refusing to limit their options, Chelsea are also said to be looking at Kepa, with AS reporting that the club are ‘ready’ to trigger the €80m (£71m) buyout clause in his contract.
Kepa Arrizabalaga only signed a new long-term contract with Bilbao in January, with that deal tying him to the Basque club until 2025 and increasing a previously affordable buyout clause as an attempt to ward off growing interest from Real at the time.
It was expected that Kepa would complete a move to Real Madrid in January this year, with Los Blancos having already met the then-release clause of £17.7m.
But Kepa decided to stick with Bilbao, revealing to radio station Cadena Ser: “In the end, following advice from my family and close friends, I opted to stay.
I’m happy with the outcome and look forward to serving the club for the next eight years.