Chelsea completed the loan of Croatia global Mateo Kovacic on Thursday after having previously reached an agreement with Real Madrid on his season-long move. It’s a curious twist of fate that his departure from Stamford Bridge would pave the way for Kepa, who was so close to joining the European champions in January, to go the opposite way and replace the Belgian at Chelsea.
Here is how social media have reacted to the 26-year-old’s move, with many tipping Barcelona’s Lionel Messi to score goals aplenty when they face Madrid.
“He’s a wonderful player”, Courtois said of his compatriot at his press conference.
Chelsea have only been willing to sell Courtois once they have a replacement on the books.
“The team would never be successful without the help of all the other members who are devoted to the players and the club, such as the medical department, kit men and all the others who I can’t thank separately. If he ends up here one day, that would be brilliant”.
Chelsea appear to have learnt from their mistakes, with Kepa signing a seven-year contract.
“He has played an important role in the club’s success, and we wish him the best of luck for the future”, it read. He has since lost that status to Riyad Mahrez but the imposing Frenchman – his grandparents being of Basque descent made him eligible for Athletic – is well placed to established himself as City’s first-choice centre-back this season, having already pocketed a Premier League winners’ medal.
“I just think about myself, be the same I’ve always been and try to give my best to the club”.
“But I want to let everyone know I have made the decision calmly and in a responsible way”.
The fee Chelsea have paid surpasses the £60m they spent on Spanish striker Alvaro Morata in July 2017.
“I just hope I can adjust and adapt as soon as possible but we’re all different”. When there was a firm offer on the table, I was in no doubt.
Asked what he can offer Madrid that Navas cannot, Courtois said it is hard to say.
In return, Julen Lopetegui’s side has sanctioned a one-season loan spell at Chelsea for midfielder Kovacic, who is yet to fully settle at the Santiago Bernabeu.
New Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has urged Eden Hazard to stay.
The 24-year-old Croatian global previously played for Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb, Italian club Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
Bilbao are notorious non-negotiators, only selling their players for the fees of their release clauses or for the demanded club fee.