Maurizio Sarri issues Kepa Arrizabalaga warning after £72m move

MAURIZIO SARRI has warned Chelsea fans not to expect world record new goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to be as good as Thibaut Courtois just yet.

Arrizabalaga joined for £71.6 million this week from Athletic Bilbao, as Belgian World Cup star Courtois joined Real Madrid for £35m in a frantic few days.

Courtois, 26, won two league titles at Chelsea, but Arrizabalga, three years younger, has much less experience as he prepares for his debut at Huddersfield tomorrow.

Sarri said: “Can he be better than Courtois? Not at the moment.

“But he is very young. I hope he can improve very fast. For the moment, he’s not Courtois, of course. But I’m very happy to have him and Mateo Kovacic coming in.

“The Courtois situation was clear. He wanted to go to Madrid.

“So we lost maybe one of the most important goalkeepers in the world. But we bought a young goalkeeper, I think one of the most important among young goalkeepers in Europe, so I’m really happy.

“I’m happy, too with Kovacic because he has the characteristics for us.

“He is a very technical player and he likes to play between the lines. For us, that could be very important.”

Courtois on Thursday said he wanted his Belgian teammate and Chelsea star Eden Hazard to join him at Real. But Sarri said: “Hazard is with us. It is not a problem. I have spoken with him three or four times on everything. He never said anything about the market, so I think he’s very happy to stay here.

“It’s impossible that a club comes in for him now, because, here, the market is closed. We cannot change important players now.”

But the new Chelsea manager did admit his squad is too large, with four new arrivals this summer: “I think some players have to go on loan. But I don’t know who at the moment.

“I prefer to have 23 / 24 players, and three or four very young players. No more.” France midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is currently in talks with Ac Milan over a season long loan.