Real Madrid face Saudi Pro League competition in bid to sign Chelsea star - report

  • Real Madrid face competition from Al Ittihad in the race to sign Kepa Arrizalabaga
  • 29-year-old spent the season on loan with Los Blancos but lost place to Andriy Lunin
  • Chelsea used Robert Sanchez and Djordje Petrovic during 2023/24 campaign
Kepa spent the season on loan with Real Madrid
Kepa spent the season on loan with Real Madrid / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

Real Madrid face fresh competition from Saudi Pro League side Al Ittihad in their bid to re-sign goalkeeper Kepa Arrizalabaga, according to a report.

The Spanish shot-stopper spent last season on loan at the Santiago Bernabeu after Thibaut Courtois was struck down by a long-term anterior cruciate ligament injury. He ended up being usurped in the pecking order by Andriy Lunin, who secured cult-hero status with some crucial performances in Los Blancos' successful La Liga and Champions League double-winning campaign.

Madrid initially had no plans to bring Arrizalabaga back for the 2024/25 season but soon considered a surprise U-turn in their stance, with Lunin's future also playing a part in their thinking.

However, MARCA now claim Kepa has a contract offer from Al Ittihad, which they add would be 'difficult to reject'.

Al Ittihad finished fifth in the 2023/24 Saudi Pro League standings, failing to defend the title they won the previous season despite signing renowned stars Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante and Fabinho.

29-year-old Kepa remains the most expensive goalkeeper ever after Chelsea forked out €80m (£72m) to acquire him from Athletic Club back in 2018. He has so far made 109 appearances in the Premier League, but lost his place to Edouard Mendy in 2020.

Kepa Arrizabalaga
Kepa won the Champions League with Real Madrid / Diego Souto/GettyImages

The Blues now have Robert Sanchez and Djordje Petrovic as options for new head coach Enzo Maresca between the sticks. They had been linked with a move for Aaron Ramsdale, who lost his place at Arsenal to new arrival David Raya, but 90min understands the west London side are unlikely to make an offer for the England international this summer.

Chelsea have been one of the busier Premier League sides during the summer transfer window so far, bringing in the likes of Tosin Adarabioyo, Omari Kellyman, Marc Guiu and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. They have also seen the likes of Ian Maatsen, Hakim Ziyech, Omari Hutchinson, Lewis Hall and Thiago Silva depart permanently.

They lost out to Bayern Munich in the race for Crystal Palace winger Michael Olise, with the German giants announcing a £45m transfer on Sunday.