Chelsea agree to sell Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid

Ross Houston
August 9, 2018

Chelsea are expected to sign Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga as Courtois' replacement at Stamford Bridge.

As displayed by Manchester City's Ederson, whose previous world record fee now looks like a bargain, a keeper that can be composed under pressure and deliver smart passes is a huge advantage to have in the Premier League.

A statement on Athletic's official website read: "On Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at 1202 hours (CET), the Professional Football League confirmed to us that the player, Kepa Arrizabalaga, has met the requirements for the valid unilateral termination of the work contract that linked him to Athletic Club".

Kepa has always been heralded as one of the best young players in the World, and he is very much a modern 'keeper who is equally adept with both his hands and his feet.

In January, he signed a new long-term contract with Bilbao until 2025, amid interest from Real Madrid.

"He has already demonstrated fantastic quality and consistency and will be a big part of any success Chelsea have in the coming years".

His arrival could pave the way for Tiemoue Bakayoko to leave Chelsea, with reports in Italy claiming that AC Milan are interested in taking him on a season-long loan with an option to buy next summer.

He was also in the Spain squad for the World Cup in Russian Federation as back-up to David De Gea, but has yet to make his competitive debut for Spain or play in the Champions League.

However, speculation over that transfer has cooled in recent weeks and it appears the 27-year-old will begin his seventh season with Chelsea when their Premier League campaign starts at Huddersfield Town this weekend.

Courtois spent three years on loan at Atlético Madrid from Chelsea, before becoming Chelsea's No 1 in 2014-15.

Athletic said the 23-year-old Kepa had his €80-million (NZ$138m) buyout clause paid on Wednesday, although the Spanish club did not say which team made the payment.

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