Kepa Arrizabalaga is ready to fight Edouard Mendy to be Chelsea’s number one as the Blues look to wrap up a deal for the goalkeeper – though Rennes insist the transfer is far from done.
The Senegal international has emerged as Chelsea’s top target to replace Kepa, with the 28-year-old having been personally recommended by Petr Cech, who played for Rennes before moving to west London.
Although Chelsea have failed to land the big-name goalkeeper they were hoping for – having been linked with Jan Oblak and Marc-Andre ter Stegen – Mendy’s looming arrival has created serious question marks over Kepa.
The Spaniard was dropped for two significant periods by Frank Lampard last season, replaced by veteran Wily Caballero each time, with the Chelsea boss having significant concerns over the £71.6million signing.
But, according to The Telegraph’s Matt Law on the London is Blue podcast, Kepa has no intention of leaving Chelsea and is happy to stay and fight for his place with Mendy.
Kepa’s camp feel he would relish and even benefit from the increased competition for a starting spot and there is little suggestion that he would ask to leave Chelsea, particularly as he still has a good relationship with Lampard.
Once the Mendy signing is wrapped up, though, Chelsea would consider cashing in on Kepa – but there’s a major problem in that so far they have received no interest from other clubs.
Chelsea would want much of that transfer fee back and the fact they have not signed a more established, expensive, superstar keeper to be the undisputed number one suggests Kepa still has time to save his career at the club.
Rennes, meanwhile, have batted away suggestions that Mendy will be picked up for a bargain fee, with club president Nicolas Holveck insisting the two sides are still some way apart in their valuation – though Mendy is eager to join Chelsea.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Holveck confirmed: ‘Yes there are discussions that have been initiated with Chelsea, no agreement for the moment – far from it. We know the value of the player and the man, I am unable to tell you what will happen.
‘For a transfer to take place, the agreement between the three parties is necessary. I can understand Edouard’s desire, he told us about his desires, it’s part of the transfer window. He is not in the worst club in Europe either. He can also play in the Champions League if he stays here.’