Chelsea manager Graham Potter hasn’t had things all his own way recently, with the club not winning a Premier League match since October but the World Cup break will give him time to assess his squad and target potential new signings.
He already appears to be busy, with the Sun reporting that Chelsea are scouting England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford at the World Cup as a potential replacement for Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy, with Potter seemingly not sure on either of them.
That’s despite Kepa’s renaissance period this term with his “special” goalkeeping – as hailed by Nizaar Kinsella – seeing him start to repay his enormous price tag.
In comparison, the Everton ‘keeper is valued at just €20m (£17m) by the CIES Football Observatory and with his contract expiring in just 18 months’ time, Potter may be able to force Frank Lampard’s hand and secure the player for a knockdown price, especially if he has no intention of signing an improved deal.
The 28-year-old has been at Everton since 2017 when he joined from Sunderland in a £30m move, making him the third most expensive stopper ever at the time.
Since the beginning of the 2020/2021 season, the England number one hasn’t exactly had the greatest of times, keeping just 20 clean sheets in 84 matches, while in the same time period, Kepa has kept 19 clean sheets in just 40 matches.
Pickford, however, has showcased himself in recent years. Indeed, he was described as “faultless” by Everton coach Alan Kelly following England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy and if he could bring his form at international level to Chelsea, he would be an astute signing for the Blues.
He kept five clean sheets in England’s run to the aforementioned final last year, conceding just two goals during the competition and Potter will be watching him closely in Qatar.
Despite conceding two goals against Iran in England’s opening 6-2 victory, Pickford didn’t have much to do throughout and bigger tests await. If he does impress, January might be an interesting time for the Everton ‘keeper with the 6 foot 1 ace primed to potentially replace Kepa at Stamford Bridge.