Barcelona are reportedly interested in bringing Chelsea shot-stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga back to Spain.
According to Fichajes, in a surprise move, Barcelona have identified Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga as a possible replacement for Marc-Andre ter Stegen. The German shot-stopper isn’t having the best of seasons at Camp Nou, and the club could replace him in the summer.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen has long been considered amongst the untouchables at Barcelona since his move to Catalonia from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2014. While he has been brilliant in front of goal for most of his time with the Blaugrana, things have taken a turn for the worse this season.
As per reports in Spanish media, the 29-year-old is the subject of debate at the club, with his future being possibly discussed after a sub-par season. Ter Stegen has managed a save percentage of just 63% this season, his worst since moving to Spain. His form has taken a dip over the last three seasons, which has prompted the Barcelona board to look elsewhere, and they have identified Kepa as a potential replacement.
Kepa, an Athletic Club youth product, joined Chelsea for a world-record fee for a goalkeeper in 2018 as the Blues paid €80 million for his services. He didn’t have the best of starts in London and gradually fell out of favour at the club.
The Spanish international is no longer the first-choice goalkeeper at Chelsea, with the Blues preferring their Edouard Mendy instead. The Senegal international impressed heavily in his first season with the club, helping them to the UEFA Champions League title. He has been in fine form since and even led his national team to the Africa Cup of Nations title.
Manager Thomas Tuchel naturally prefers Mendy over Kepa, which has left the latter with no option but to look for greener pastures. The 27-year-old will still have three years left on his contract with Chelsea after the current season, but the chances of completing the contract look bleak. The west Londoners are believed to be open to selling their second-choice shot-stopper in the summer.
Newcastle United have been credited with an interest in the 27-year-old. But, now with Barcelona reportedly showing interest in the former Athletic goalkeeper, he could well be on his way back to Spain, where he flourished. Whether the Blaugrana move in for Kepa in the summer or persist with ter Stegen remains to be seen.