Breakups are tough as Chelsea found out the hard way when Thibaut Courtois went missing from training this week – the football equivalent of ghosting – in a bid to force through a move to Real Madrid.
It seems as if the Belgian stopper will return to the Spanish capital for £35 million with Mateo Kovacic going the other way on loan as part of the deal.
With little time to go before the transfer window shuts, Chelsea have had to move on fast. They will pay a world record £71 million to secure the services of 23-year-old Athletic Club keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, a fee which eclipses the £66.9 million Liverpool shelled out for Alisson last month.
What can Kepa bring to Stamford Bridge? And does he represent a shrewd long-term investment or a panic buy on the rebound for Maurizio Sarri’s side?
A promising keeper...
“The truth is the rumours do not make me nervous. You hear them, you see them, I am not blind and know what is going on around me. But I know I am who I am for what I do, not for what people say. I try to keep a calm head.”
Those were Kepa’s words after making his senior Spain debut against Costa Rica in November, following continued speculation that he was on his way to Real Madrid.
If that statement demonstrated his calmness under pressure off the pitch, then he proved it with his performances over the next six months.