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Chelsea spent a fortune on an untried goalkeeper during last season’s summer transfer window as the Blues paid a world record fee of £71.6m to sign young Spaniard Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Kepa was somewhat of an unknown quantity as he was only just starting to prove himself in Athletic Bilbao, but Chelsea saw him as a good replacement for the departing Thibaut Courtois, and the 24-year-old has shown that he has what it takes to succeed at Stamford Bridge.
The Spaniard was the hero of the night in the Europa League victory as Chelsea defeated Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties in the semifinal to reach the final, with Kepa Arrizabalaga saving two kicks.
Chelsea’s third-choice keeper Rob Green has been working alongside Kepa Arrizabalaga all season in training, and the veteran goalkeeper has revealed just how good Kepa has been.
“Kepa for his first season in the Premier League has had a fantastic season, and one that he will get stronger off the back of,” Green told the official Chelsea website.
“The demands. He’s a young guy. The amount of football he has played, all of a sudden he has gone into a season where he has played probably 50 games, more than 50 games. And it’s not just the games themselves, he’s going away for internationals, he’s travelling all round Europe to play these games.
“And the intensity of the games, and the spotlight of the games is far greater. He has managed that and maintained his performance throughout. His talent was there – it doesn’t take an expert to see that. But I think what don’t you realise when you’re out of it is the demands it has on someone who is still a young lad.”