Kepa Arrizabalaga’s recent move from Chelsea to Real Madrid has raised eyebrows and ignited discussions about the direction of modern football clubs.
The Spanish goalkeeper, who joined Chelsea in 2018 for a record-breaking £72 million, made headlines this summer as he embarked on a loan spell with Real Madrid, leaving behind the Premier League giants. But what prompted this decision?
In a revealing interview with Spanish radio COPE, Kepa Arrizabalaga provided insights into his departure from Chelsea and his disillusionment with what he termed Todd Boehly’s ‘project.’ The goalkeeper expressed a desire for a change of scenery, citing concerns about the direction Chelsea was headed under Boehly’s ownership. He stated, “I wanted to stay, but I felt that the project was not the right one.”
Boehly, an American businessman, took control of Chelsea, overseeing a remarkable spending spree that saw the club invest over £1 billion in player acquisitions since his arrival. This included a £350 million splurge during the summer transfer window, breaking the British transfer record.
Despite the significant financial outlay, Chelsea’s on-field performance hadn’t lived up to expectations, with the team finishing in their worst-ever Premier League position in the previous season and languishing in 12th place after four matches in the current campaign.
Kepa Arrizabalaga’s decision to depart Chelsea was influenced by Mauricio Pochettino’s desire to retain him, especially after the departure of Edouard Mendy. Pochettino, Chelsea’s third permanent manager in just six months, expressed confidence in Kepa and assured him of playing time. However, the goalkeeper ultimately chose to seek new challenges.
Interestingly, Kepa revealed that he was close to a potential move to Bayern Munich before Real Madrid’s swift intervention. He emphasized the significance of Real Madrid’s interest, saying, “When Madrid calls you, everything changes.” His transfer to Los Blancos was finalized within a matter of hours and a couple of phone calls.