Kepa Arrizabalaga wants to be remembered as someone who brought success to Chelsea

Matt Jones 9/08/2018
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Kepa Arrizabalaga is targeting sustained success with Chelsea after moving to Stamford Bridge for a world-record fee for a goalkeeper.

The 23-year-old on Wednesday joined from Athletic Bilbao for £72.1million, after Chelsea met his ‎€80m buyout clause. Kepa could make his Chelsea debut in Saturday’s Premier League clash at Huddersfield.

The recruitment of the Spain international on a seven-year contract allowed Thibaut Courtois to depart for Real Madrid for €35m (£31.5m), with Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic moving in the opposite direction on a season-long loan.

Kepa told Chelsea’s official app, The 5th Stand, on Thursday: “All clubs need to fight to win titles and what all players want is to win. So what I would like is to win more titles for the club.

“This is what I aspire to do. I would like to be remembered at this club when I leave years down the line as a goalkeeper that has helped the club win a lot of titles and gone down in history in that way.”

Courtois won two Premier League titles in four seasons as Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper but had a year remaining on his contract and had expressed a desire to return to Spain.

He had spent three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea before displacing Petr Cech as the Blues’ number one.

Now Kepa is Courtois’ successor, after speaking to compatriots Cesar Azpilicueta, Alvaro Morata and Pedro about life at Stamford Bridge.

He said: “I had excellent references from them about the club, knowing them and being able to talk to them has been a great support for me over the last few days.

“And then of course there are many great players here, like N’Golo Kante, (Eden) Hazard, (Olivier) Giroud. It’s a squad full of fantastic players.

“We have a very exciting season ahead of us, so let’s go for it.”

Chelsea finished fifth in the Premier League last season in defence of the title they won in 2016/17, missing out on Champions League qualification.

They won the FA Cup in Antonio Conte’s final match as head coach before the Italian was belatedly sacked in July, with Maurizio Sarri appointed in his place.

Hazard’s future has been the subject of debate, with the Belgium playmaker stalling on an offer to extend his contract, which presently expires in June 2020.

The Blues appear to have held on to Hazard, for now. Kovacic’s capture, meanwhile, was completed on Thursday morning.

The 24-year-old former Dinamo Zagreb and Inter Milan midfielder was described as “a perfect fit” by Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia.

She told Chelsea’s official website: “His style is well suited to how Maurizio wants to play and we are sure he will prove to be a valuable asset for the club.”

Kovacic said: “I am really happy and excited to be here at Chelsea. It is an amazing feeling. I will try to do my best for this club.

“It is a new league for me, the beginning is always tough but I am sure the coach and my new team-mates will help me and I am looking forward to a great season.”

There could be moves, on loan and permanently, for a number of Chelsea squad players on Thursday’s final day of the summer transfer window, although any moves into continental Europe can be completed before the end of the month.

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Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says it will be “difficult” to make any signings before the transfer window shuts.

Spurs are the only Premier League club not to make an addition to their squad and Pochettino admits any arrivals are unlikely before the 5pm deadline (8pm UAE time).

He said: “It will be difficult. It’s not over until the game is over but with four hours to go it will be difficult.”

The Argentinian refused to speak about Spurs’ pursuit of Jack Grealish, but after a £25million bid was rejected on Wednesday that deal appears dead.

With just hours to go until the window shuts, it looks like being a fruitless period for the club, who Pochettino challenged to be “brave and take risks” at the end of last season.

The Argentinian said: “I think it’s so difficult now because it’s only a few hours until the end and I don’t have news now.

Does anyone want to come to play for me?

Does anyone want to come to play for me?

“It’s sure it will be so difficult. Always, until you finish the game, you cannot say, ‘Now it’s the end of the game’. But in four hours it will be difficult to sign some players.”

The tonic to that lack of transfer activity is that Spurs have been able to keep all of their top stars, with a number of them tied down to new deals.

The window remains open to European clubs until the end of August, so there is still the possibility of players going out even after the English deadline passes.

Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele could still leave in the next few weeks, but Pochettino has been able to keep hold of the likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Kieran Trippier.

Alderweireld was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United but any firm interest never materialised.

“We have a very good squad, with very good players and it is very difficult to add players to that,” the boss added.

“We didn’t sell players and with 25 players in the squad it is difficult to add players.

“It’s not about adding because it’s fashionable to sign players. It’s about if you really need them or not and then if you can get your target or not.

“It’s true our targets are always the same level as Manchester United, Manchester City or Real Madrid but for different circumstances we can’t achieve that.

toby-alderweireld

“I am not worried, I am not sad, I am so happy. To keep our best players was our objective and goal and we have achieved that – at the moment, we will see what happens in the next 20 days in Europe.

“If you can’t add a player that can improve your squad, the most important thing is to make sure you do not lose your best players and I think that was a great job from the club to keep the best players and the manager.”

Pochettino does accept how the lack of activity might be viewed externally, but is happy with the club’s vision.

“Of course it’s difficult to understand for people in football that Tottenham didn’t sign or sell players, but sometimes in football you need to behave differently,” he said.

“If we are happy with our squad and cannot improve our squad, sometimes it’s better to keep our squad together.

“There’s no reason to not trust in our squad and no reason not to believe in our club or believe in what we can do.

“The most important thing is we’re so positive and of course we’re going to challenge for big things this season too.”

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Wolves have failed in their attempt to sign Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City.

The club had agreed a £16million fee with City but the wing-back was reluctant to make the move, Press Association Sport understands.

Ambitious Wolves had been hoping to convince him to move to Molineux but Zinchenko is now likely to remain at the Etihad Stadium for now.

The clubs had struck a deal a number of weeks ago with Zinchenko likely to be down the pecking order at City.

He made 14 appearances for Pep Guardiola’s side last season when Fabian Delph and Benjamin Mendy were out injured.

But the pair are fit ahead of the start of the season and Ukraine international Zinchenko may find his chances limited.

Wolves are planning for life back in the Premier League and broke their transfer record to sign £18m Adama Traore from Middlesbrough this week.

They are also interested in Belgium international Leander Dendoncker from Anderlecht and were keen on Swansea’s Sam Clucas, but he has been spotted at Stoke’s training ground.

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