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Chelsea complete world-record £72m signing of Kepa Arrizabalaga on seven-year deal from Athletic Bilbao

Chelsea have completed the signing of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao for a world-record fee of £72million.

The 23-year-old has put pen to paper on a seven-year deal at the Blues and will be the club’s No 1 following the departure of Thibaut Courtois.

The deal for Kepa outstrips the £66.8m paid by Liverpool for Alisson last month. The Brazilian was Chelsea’s first choice to replace Courtois, but he was keen to work with Jurgen Klopp.

On moving to Stamford Bridge, Kepa said: ‘It’s a very important decision for me, for my career, and also for my personal life.

‘So many things attracted me to the club, all the titles the club has won, the other players, the city, the English Premier League.

‘It’s an accumulation of things, and I am very glad Chelsea has decided to trust me and to take me in as well.’
Director Marina Granovskaia added: ‘Kepa is a talent we have admired for a long time and we are extremely excited about his arrival.

‘He has already demonstrated fantastic quality and consistency and will be a big part of any success Chelsea have in the coming years.

‘His long-term contract reflects the belief we have in him and we look ahead to the coming seasons with an enormous sense of optimism.

Earlier on Wednesday, Real Madrid confirmed the signing of Courtois from Chelsea for £35million on a six-year deal.

Kepa almost joined Madrid himself in January only for the deal to fall through with his price at just £17.5m. Serie A side Napoli, then under the guidance of Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, also expressed an interest.

Madrid instead decided to keep the door ajar for Courtois after he showed a willingness to join them. As a consequence, Kepa was rewarded with a new £60,000-a-week contract at Athletic but saw his buyout clause rise to £72m.

Though young and relatively raw, 6ft 3in Kepa is regarded as one of the best prospects to emerge from Spain and was named in his country’s World Cup squad.

Kepa is in contention to make his Premier League debut away at Huddersfield on Saturday and will train with his new team-mates on Thursday.

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