Kepa Arrizabalaga became the most expensive goalkeeper in history when Maurizio Sarri pushed for the £71.6million move from Athletic Bilbao to Chelsea back in 2018 but the 25-year-old now looks set for the exit door at Stamford Bridge this summer.
It appears that Frank Lampard has run out of patience with the Spanish international, which is not surprising considering that during his 33 Premier League games he has conceded 47 goals. His save percentage of just 55.4% also leaves him 127th out of 132 goalkeepers in Europe's top seven leagues.
Cut-price and proven
Rumours have been aplenty about who will come in as Kepa’s inevitable replacement – Jan Oblak and Dean Henderson have both been linked – but Chelsea should look no further than AFC Ajax’s number one, Andre Onana.
According to The Athletic, the Cameroon international would be available for a fee of around £26.9 million and it is reported that there has been regular contact in recent months between Chelsea and Onana’s representatives, with the player understood to be attracted by the idea of joining the Blues.
The 24-year-old established himself in Amsterdam after joining as a teenager from Barcelona in January 2015 — despite not making a first-team appearance — and gained particular acclaim during the team’s run past Real Madrid and Juventus to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals.
Under Lampard, Chelsea love to play out from the back but it is an uncomfortable watch at times with Kepa, on numerous occasions, dwelling on the ball and allowing opposition strikers to close in.
In Onana, Chelsea would be signing a goalkeeper who is known for his impressive form over recent years with Ajax, notably his spectacular shot-stopping and standout ability with the ball at his feet.
The stars seem to align
Chelsea and Ajax have already done business this year, with Moroccan international Hakim Ziyech moving to SW6 for £33.3 million.
Relationships between the clubs seem to be in a good place, and with Chelsea also keen on bringing in Nicolas Tagliafico, the two clubs could be getting to know a lot more of each other over the months ahead.
This would in turn pave the way for Valencia’s first choice goalkeeper, Jasper Cillessen, to make a return to Ajax. The path would then be clear for Onana to stake his claim as Chelsea’s new number one.
With Oblak’s release clause at Atletico Madrid set at an enormous £120 million and Manchester United reluctant to sell a promising English goalkeeper in Dean Henderson to a rival – the Blues’ should focus on bringing a proven, and cheaper-option, goalkeeper in Onana to SW6.