LONDON,. Kepa Arrizabalaga believes goalkeepers are finally getting the credit they deserve after Chelsea paid a world record €80-million (RM376.3 million) fee for a ‘keeper to Athletic Bilbao for his services.
The Spaniard’s move came just weeks after Liverpool broke the record in a €72.5-million move for Brazilian international Alisson Becker from Roma.
In a summer dominated by big moves for goalkeepers, Chelsea rushed through a deal for Kepa, 23, after Thibaut Courtois joined Real Madrid for a reported €35 million (RM164.6 million).
Arsenal also have a new number one after splashing £19 million on Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen.
“It’s great that big fees are paid for strikers and other players, but why not for goalkeepers? It’s a good way to acknowledge a good goalkeeper,” Kepa said yesterday as he was unveiled at Stamford Bridge.
Kepa has limited experience for such a big price tag having yet to feature in the Champions League or make his competitive debut for Spain at international level.
But he insisted he won’t be fazed by the attention of being the world’s most expensive stopper or a change of culture in moving to the Premier League.
“In terms of the price and me being the most expensive keeper in the world, it’s something I don’t think about,” he said.
“I just think about myself, be the same I’ve always been and try to give my best to the club.
“There won’t be additional pressure on me. The only pressure I experience is the pressure I put on myself. I am a player who demands a lot from myself.”
Kepa becomes the sixth Spanish member of Chelsea’s squad, joining Cesar Azpilicueta, Cesc Fabregas, Pedro Rodriguez, Alvaro Morata and Marcos Alonso, and he says his international team-mates played a big part in selling the move to him.
“I know some of the players who are in the current Chelsea team because I played with them in the Spanish national team,” he added.
“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.”