Former Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has backed Kepa Arrizabalaga to bounce back from his struggles with form and confidence and be a ‘huge success’ although it may have to be away form Stamford Bridge.
The Spanish stopper became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he arrived from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 for a huge sum of £71.6m.
While he had a decent first season, his form has been on the slide since then and the 26-year-old became something of a liability by the start of this season, regularly making mistakes and looking bereft of confidence.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard acted and brought in Edouard Mendy from Rennes and the Senegal international has proved to be an immediate improvement on Kepa, keeping six clean sheets in his first eight games.
Begovic, who was at Chelsea from 2015-17, has been thoroughly impressed with Mendy, but also believes Kepa has the ability to recover from this tricky spell in his career, although he may have to leave Stamford Bridge to do it.
‘I don’t think it’s gone to plan for everyone,’ Begovic told talkSPORT. ‘These situations are never straightforward. If you spend a big transfer fee it doesn’t mean everything is going to work out; there are a lot of factors into making a move work and making an impact at a club.
‘Mendy has come in and done really, really well, I think he’s really solidified that position. He’s been impressive, he’s been a joy to watch to be honest and he’s someone I really enjoy watching.
‘I think Kepa is a really good goalkeeper, he played really well in Spain before his move to Chelsea and it’s obviously been a bit of a tricky time for him.
‘He’s got really good quality and I’m sure he’ll be a huge success, whether it’s at Chelsea or somewhere else.
‘When you have that quality it’s only going to be matter of time before things turn around for him again in a positive way.’
Kepa was signed on an enormous seven-year contract when he arrived at Chelsea, keeping him at the club until 2025.
The 26-year-old has not started since the Blues drew 3-3 with Southampton in October, a game in which he was at fault again.
‘He has to be strong enough, that is what it is like in elite sport and goalkeepers have to deal with that,’ Lampard said after the match.
‘He will have the support of myself and his teammates. It’s a shame, because he made some good saves.’