Nick Pope Lined Up as Chelsea Consider Kepa Arrizabalaga Sale

Ross Kennerley

​Chelsea are considering selling Kepa Arrizabalaga in the summer after seeing the Spaniard's form dip considerably this season.

The Spaniard became the most expensive goalkeeper in the world when he joined the Blues in a deal worth £71.6m from Athletic Club in the summer of 2018, since making 82 appearances for the club.

His first season proved a fruitful one under Maurizio Sarri, as he became a mainstay in the team that lifted the Europa League crown and finished fourth in the ​Premier League. However, he hit the headlines for the wrong reasons when he refused to be substituted in the Carabao Cup final - which ​Sarri later played down as a misunderstanding.

This season, under Frank Lampard's tutelage, Kepa has remained as the club's undisputed number one, but a host of sub-par performances and high-profile errors has seen him come under increased scrutiny throughout the season.

Those errors included Wednesday night's draw with Arsenal, where he was criticised for allowing Hector Bellerin's effort to snatch the Gunners a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

​Kepa's poor performances in between the sticks were made clear when Opta revealed that ​Chelsea have conceded from 16% of the shots faced in the Premier League this season - in total, the keeper has saved just 53.6% of the shots he has had to deal with.

According to Bleacher Report's ​Dean Jones, the slide in form has prompted a rethink for the upcoming summer ​transfer window, with the Blues 'continuing' to ponder over a decision to sell the 25-year-old at the end of the season.

Scouts are apparently already working on potential targets, with Burnley's Nick Pope among the candidates to succeed Kepa. Pope is highly regarded both at club and international level, earning himself the number one slot at Turf Moor as well as two England caps to date.

It is added that should they pursue that avenue it would have no bearing on other deals, as the money they would recoup for Kepa would be spent on the replacement.

Which is another point: price. Indeed, the colossal £71.6m fee the club parted with to secure Kepa so recently may make the player prohibitively expensive for suitors, given the goalkeeper put pen to paper on a deal running until the summer of 2025.

Despite a string of mistakes costing the Blues points this season, Lampard's side still find themselves in the final ​Champions League spot in the top flight. And while understandably they will be considering any possibility, there is still time for their minds to be changed by a goalkeeper who last season kept 14 clean sheets and looked mostly solid in his debut campaign in England.

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