Kepa has arrived from Athletic Bilbao as Courtois’ replacement for a world record fee for a goalkeeper of £71.6 million, as reported by Sky Sports.
The 23-year-old comes with much promise and the Stamford Bridge faithful will be hoping to see him performing admirably between the sticks for their team for years to come.
The Spaniard has plenty to prove though, and big gloves to fill in replacing Courtois as the Blues’ No. 1.
Considering Maurizio Sarri can only call upon the likes of Willy Caballero and Rob Green in reserve, it is vital that Kepa hits the ground running in London. With such a huge price tag hanging over him, the pressure really is on the ‘keeper to perform from the off.
Kepa’s stats from the previous La Liga campaign are impressive. 7 clean sheets in 30 appearances, as part of a side that struggled to a 16th placed league finish, is very respectable. It pales in comparison to Courtois’ 15 Premier League shutouts in 35 games last season though.
Kepa was the busier of the two shot-stoppers, averaging 3.2 saves per match in La Liga, whereas Courtois was only called upon to make, on average, 2.5 stops per game.
The ex-Bilbao man’s status as second to only David de Gea in the Spanish national team is perhaps a better assurance of his quality than his stats. He could face a de Gea-esque struggle to find his feet in England at first though, and it remains to be seen how his transfer fee may effect him or how much patience he’ll be afforded.
Kepa has the potential to be a world class ‘keeper, but there’ll be those out there who expect him to be one already, and considering how much they’ve shelled out, Chelsea have taken a big gamble on the young man fulfilling his potential quickly. This could prove a very costly error, both on and off the pitch, if Kepa fails to hit the heights expected of him.