Frank Lampard has reportedly identified Nick Pope and Vicente Guaita as his two top targets to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga between the sticks at Chelsea.
Kepa, 25, looks set for the exit door at Stamford Bridge after Lampard told Chelsea’s board he wants the struggling goalkeeper sold in the summer. The Spaniard was demoted to the substitutes bench as Chelsea drew 2-2 away to Leicester City at the weekend, with Willy Caballero favoured in goal at the King Power Stadium.
After the game, Lampard explained: ‘It’s a decision I have not taken lightly. They train together, they are are close and it’s one I thought I’d make for this game. I trust in Willy, he’s very professional.’ Less than two years ago, Chelsea broke the world transfer record for a goalkeeper (£71.6million) to sign Kepa, but the shot-stopper has failed to live up to his hefty price-tag despite a promising start.
According to The Daily Mirror, Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia – who was instrumental in bringing Kepa to Stamford Bridge – is less than impressed at the prospect of selling the ‘keeper for a lower price than they paid Athletic Bilbao in 2018. Nevertheless, Lampard has drawn up a shortlist of potential signings he feels could come in and succeed the Spain international as Chelsea’s No.1.
The Chelsea head coach has prioritised a move for either Burnley’s Pope and Crystal Palace’s Guaita ahead of the summer transfer window.
Caballero was pleased with his display after replacing Kepa in Chelsea’s starting XI at Leicester. ‘I am really happy to help the team to play today,’ the Argentine said following the draw. ‘I made a few saves but more important is the spirit of the team, we rescued one point here which is so difficult.
‘It is hard as a goalkeeper when we don’t have the opportunity to play, we have to keep the faith, keep training well and when the opportunity arrives you have to be ready for it. ‘This is a lesson for every goalkeeper in the world, we must be ready at any time.’