New Chelsea signing Kepa Arrizabalaga has said that his move is huge for his career, and that he is incredibly happy to be at Chelsea.
Speaking in his first press conference at the club, the Spaniard said “This is a great challenge for me and it means a lot for my career and my personal life- it’s a great step forward. This is the start of a new stage for me, and I’m really excited”
The 23 year-old Spanish goalkeeper joined Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao last night, and has signed a seven-year contract for a goalkeeper world record fee of £71 million. This surpasses the record fee by £4.2 million, which was set less than three weeks ago by Liverpool’s signing of Brazilian Alisson Becker from Roma.
When asked about his price tag, he didn’t express much concern. “I don’t think about myself as being the most expensive goalkeeper of all time,” he said. “I don’t think there will be additional pressure because of it, only pressure that I’m putting on myself.”
“I expect to achieve growth, I hope I will win many, many titles and when I look back in seven years I can be proud of what I achieved. There had been prior offers from Chelsea for me, I have been aware of the interest from the club for a few weeks”
This is the first time Arrizabalaga is playing his football outside of his native Spain. During his six and a half years as a professional, he has played for Basconia, Ponferradina, Valladolid and Athletic Bilbao’s first and second team.
After an impressive season in which he made 30 league appearances for the Basque club, he earned a call-up to Spain’s World Cup squad, in which he was the number two goalkeeper behind David de Gea. He made his international debut last year, where he kept a clean sheet in Spain’s 5-0 friendly win against Costa Rica.
Arrizabalaga also spoke about his fellow Spaniards already playing in the Premier League, and how they have helped. “Of course I knew some of the players from the national team, and all of them have told me what it’s like to play here. They have encouraged me to make the move, and they have given me advice on what it is like playing here”.
He is now the sixth Spaniard in Chelsea’s squad, joining up with César Azpilicueta, Cesc Fàbregas, Marcos Alonso, Álvaro Morata and Pedro.
The Spaniard said that he doesn’t think it will be too difficult for him to get used to new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri’s style of play. “I find Maurizio’s style of play very attractive, and I think I will be able to adapt to it,” he said. “I think Maurizio’s style is similar to the style of the Spanish National Team, so that will help me a lot”
“At the end of the day some players take more time, others take less. Everyone’s different, and I just hope that it doesn’t take me too long to adapt.”
Arrizabalaga will now go and join his new teammates in training for the first time, as they prepare for their first league game of the season at Huddersfield this Saturday. Chelsea’s new goalkeeper will be available for selection; meaning he could be set to make his Blues debut in less than 48 hours.