An ACL injury to Thibaut Courtois forced Real Madrid to make a move for Kepa Arrizabalaga for this season. The Spaniard arrives at the Santiago Bernabeu on loan until the end of the season. There is no buy option included for Real Madrid. Therefore, he will return to Chelsea following the 2023/24 campaign.

Courtois’s injury occurred mere days before the beginning of the 2023/24 campaign. Real Madrid began its LaLiga campaign on Saturday with a comfortable win over Athletic Club. The Belgian is indisputably one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and his abilities played a key role in Real Madrid’s success over recent seasons. However, it was 24-year-old Andriy Lunin to operate between the sticks. It was Lunin’s 10th league appearance for Real Madrid.

However, the Ukrainian spent most of his time with Real Madrid either on loan or strictly as a backup. Therefore, Real Madrid wanted a goalkeeper with regular starting experience. It went after Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga, who made nine appearances in the Champions League last season with Chelsea. Additionally, he started 29 games for Chelsea in League play.

Kepa is a downgrade from Courtois, but that is comparing Kepa to one of the greatest goalkeepers of a generation. With Chelsea last season, Kepa conceded around a goal per game. His 45 goals against in 39 appearances did come with 12 clean sheets. By comparison, Thibaut Courtois conceded one goal per game amid 17 clean sheets. Two of those clean sheets were against Kepa’s Chelsea in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Kepa joins Real Madrid on season-long loan to replace Courtois

Kepa’s arrival at Real Madrid is out of necessity. However, he topped the list of available goalkeepers Real Madrid could have brought in. For example, David de Gea is out of contract and could have joined Real Madrid. The two had serious connections for years while the Spanish goalkeeper was at Manchester United.

This time, Real Madrid went for a different Premier League goalkeeper. For Chelsea, it is trusting Robert Sanchez, who came over from Brighton and Hove Albion this summer for just shy of $30 million. He now replaces a trio of goalkeepers. Joining Kepa on the way out is Edouard Mendy, who left for Saudi Arabia this summer. USMNT goalkeeper Gaga Slonina is also out on loan in Belgium. In its opening weekend draw against Liverpool, Robert Sanchez allowed one goal.