No confidence in Kepa as Chelsea scour transfer market for new goalkeeper

Kepa has come under fire this season for his performances, criticism no doubt accentuated by the eye-watering £71m Chelsea paid Athletic Bilbao for the goalkeeper’s services in 2018.

The Blues are keen to try and recoup as much of that £71m – a world-record fee for a goalkeeper – as possible this summer, as Lampard hunts for a more viable option for the future.

It’s reported that the Chelsea boss does not see the Spaniard as the long-term fit between the sticks at Stamford Bridge.

Reports claim that clubs in Spain have expressed an interest in Kepa, but whether Chelsea will be able to make back anywhere near the fee they paid for him remains to be seen – particularly with a dip in performance and an expectedly erratic transfer market due to the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Blues’ supposed shortlist of potential replacements include Burnley’s Nick Pope, who recently missed out on the Premier League Golden Glove award despite 12 clean sheets in the league this season.

Ajax stopper Andre Onana is also on the Chelsea radar, with Ajax said to be willing to listen to offers for the player who is interested in a move to England.

Perhaps the most outrageous (but not unlikely) suggestion is Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak.

Often regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, the Slovenian won’t come cheap, with a whopping £110m needed to activate his release clause and lure him away from the Wanda Metropolitano.

Arsenal close to permanent Dani Ceballos capture from Real Madrid but hit snag in chase for Atletico’s Thomas Partey

The good news is that Dani Ceballos, who has been on loan at the Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid this campaign, is reported to be close to penning a permanent contract at Arsenal.

Ceballos is said to not be in the plans of current Real coach Zinedine Zidane, and according to Spanish news outlet AS, the midfielder’s focus is to stay in North London for another season.

Other reports from Spain also suggest that Real Madrid’s need to make some cash this summer will encourage them to sell Ceballos to Arsenal, with newspaper Marca claiming €30-35m could be enough to make the switch permanent.

It is in the middle of the park where Arteta and Sporting Director Edu are seemingly keen to bolster their ranks, with Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey on the Gunners’ radar.

Partey has been linked with a move to the Premier League for the past 18 months, with Arsenal supposedly in pole position for the 27-year-old’s signature.

The Ghana international has a release clause of €50m, and still has three years remaining on his current Atletico deal – but the Gunners remain confident they can land their man.

Earlier this month, The Guardian reported Arsenal had offered £23m for Partey’s services – approximately half of his €50m release clause – but that was rejected.
Now reports claim that out-of-favour midfielder Matteo Guendouzi was offered as a makeweight in order to up the ante, and tempt Atletico in to accepting a lower price for Partey.

Guendouzi reportedly had a bust-up with gaffer Mikel Arteta shortly after the Premier League’s resumption and hasn’t featured for Arsenal in the last 10 games in all competitions.

Despite the offer of Guendouzi, Partey won’t be leaving the Wanda Metropolitano any time soon it seems, as the player plus cash bid was also rejected.

In the past, Alexandre Lacazette has been of interest to Atletico Madrid – however it is unlikely that Arteta will use the Frenchman as a bargaining chip to secure Partey at the expense of weakening his forward line.