Real Madrid grabbed Kepa Arrizabalaga from under the noses of Bayern in order to replace Thibaut Courtois, who will be out for a lengthy time with a major knee injury.
Many options were considered before the German champions signed Daniel Peretz from Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv. During the offseason, the Bavarian club looked for a replacement for Yann Sommer as the Swiss goalie transferred to Inter.
It was so secret that Thomas Tuchel, Kepa’s manager at Chelsea in the Premier League, expressed interest in the Spanish goalkeeper this summer. Interestingly enough, during the German’s lone season in command in England, Edouard Mendy was often preferred over Kepa.
Although the Spaniard only played in a few games for the Blues while under Tuchel, he presented real potential for Bayern. However, just when the Spanish international had regained his starting position at Stamford Bridge, he was loaned out to the Madrid giants for a whole year.
What did Kepa say of his failed Bayern move?
In an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca, the 28-year-old goalkeeper discussed why he decided to go to Real Madrid rather than accept the starting position in Bavaria.
“Thomas Tuchel called me. I was close to going to Munich. When a coach that didn’t play you much says he wants you in his team, that gives you a good feeling. But due to circumstances such as the injury, unfortunately, of a colleague [Courtois], the possibility to play for Real Madrid arose.
“In the end, Real Madrid is Real Madrid. When Real Madrid calls you, you don’t have to think twice. I’ve faced Real Madrid three times with Chelsea. When I arrived at Bernabeu I always turned left, to the visiting dressing room, but I wanted to turn right, to the local dressing room!”
Pochettino wanted goalkeeper to stay at Chelsea
Although Kepa confesses he wanted to leave Chelsea this summer, he claims coach Mauricio Pochettino backed him up when it came to his roster spot: “It is true that at Chelsea, Pochettino wanted me to stay and he told me that I was going to play, that he trusted me, but I thought that a change would be good for me. I wanted a change.”
Photo: IMAGO / Alberto Gardin
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