Chelsea under-fire stopper ready to fight for place in starting XI

Kepa Arrizabalaga is prepared to fight Edouard Mendy to be Chelsea’s number one as the west Londoners look to wrap up a deal for the shot-stopper – though Ligue 1 side Rennes insist the transfer is far from done.

The Senegal international has emerged as the Blues’ top target to replace Kepa, with the 28-year-old star having been personally recommended by Petr Cech, who played for Les Rouge et Noir before moving to west London.

Chelsea have failed to sign the big-name goalkeeper they were hoping for – having been mentioned with Jan Oblak and Marc-Andre ter Stegen – Edouard’s looming arrival has created serious question marks over Kepa.

The Spaniard was dropped for two significant periods by manager Frank Lampard last season, replaced by experienced Willy Caballero each time, with the Chelsea chief having significant concerns over the £71.6 million signing.

But, according to The Telegraph’s Matt Law on the London is Blue podcast, Arrizabalaga has no intention of leaving Chelsea and is content to stay and fight for his place with Mendy.

The Spaniard’s camp feel he would relish and even benefit from the increased competition for a starting spot and there is little talk that he would ask to leave Chelsea, particularly as the star still has a good relationship with Frank.

Once the Mendy signing is wrapped up, though, the Blues would consider cashing in on Kepa – but there’s a major problem in that thus far they have received no interest from other sides.

One big stumbling block is that Arrizabalaga cost a world-record fee and few clubs could come close to paying a sum similar to that £71.6m in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly sides in La Liga.