It’s been a roller coaster few days for Chelsea fans and not many would have predicted the outcome. Courtois out, Kepa Arrizabalaga in. A world record fee for a goalkeeper and a huge statement of intent: the board are not willing to let the club slip into mediocrity. This deal and the refusal to let Hazard leave send a clear message to the rest of the football world that whilst we may not spend money like we used to, there is still a massive force backing the club. So what did we get for our record-breaking transfer?
David De Gea 2.0?
Well according to most, the future Spanish number one, the heir David De Gea’s throne. The similarities are striking, both were signed for massive fees, both were young and yet had still played top-level football for many years. Even their physical traits are similar, tall and gangly with the promise of filling out in time. Arrizabalaga arrives with immense potential, an agile shot stopper who is not afraid to play out from the back, something Sarri covets in a goalie. A good fit then, and with a seven year contract Chelsea fans will be hoping he can pay back that enormous fee with clean sheets and breath taking saves.
Arrizabalaga’s signature cleared the way for Thibaut Courtois to join Real Madrid and as far as I’m concerned they can have him. He is a fine keeper, have no doubt but I place little faith in anyone who does not honor a contract. The Belgians refusal to report for preseason training showed his true character and whilst I understand his position of wanting to be closer to his kids, there is a right way to go about things. As it were, the manager would most probably have let him leave had they met face to face but instead he chose to revolt. Courtois can expect a poisonous welcome should he ever return to the Bridge as an opposition player.
Thankfully for Chelsea, not only did we get a decent fee for a player with just a single year left on their contract but also the arrival of Mateo Kovacic on loan. The highly coveted midfielder struggled to breakthrough at Real but always made an impact when called upon. Quick feet and a quick mind suggest the player will thrive under Sarri. His arrival will most likely spell the end of few players Chelsea careers with our midfield now bulging with talent. Expect the likes of Bakayoko, Drinkwater and perhaps Loftus Cheek to find new clubs.
With our goalkeeping problem emphatically solved, it would be safe to presume that the club has concluded it’s business for the window. It was a pity that the deal for Rugani could not get over the line and perhaps Higuin too but I think Maurizio Sarri will be content with the squad he has to work with. The club have managed a tricky transfer window well and deserve credit.
In a few hours the window will slam shut and we can all sit back and relax as the greatest league in the world takes center stage once more! One last thing, spare a thought for the commentators this season, a pass between Arrizabalaga and Azpilicueta has made their jobs a lot harder…