Kovacic and Kepa on their way to Chelsea, with Cortouis moving the other way
With Transfer Deadline Day approaching this Thursday, Premier League clubs are having to step up their transfer pursuits. None so more than Chelsea, who have suddenly become involved in a string of transfers.
Courtois out, Kepa in
The first one, and one that was expected for some time now, was Thibaut Courtois. He has a long-stated desire to return to Madrid due to family reasons, Real Madrid have been keen to sign him as an upgrade on Keylor Navas, their current keeper.
Things came to a head this week when he refused to train with the Chelsea team, on return from his post-World Cup holiday. Chelsea were not initially happy to let such an important player leave so close to the transfer deadline. To sweeten the deal, Madrid offered to send Mateo Kovacic, 24, out on a season-long loan to the London club.
Therefore, the next step for Chelsea was to find a replacement keeper for their Belgian star. Blues manager Maurizio Sarri quickly identified his target: Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga. The player was keen on the deal, and has now paid his release clause of £71m (a world-record fee for a keeper) to La Liga, enabling him to leave the Basque club and move to the Premier League.
Chelsea close to Kovacic deal
Both Kovacic and Courtois are now expected to have medicals at their respective new clubs.
There have been further rumours that the Kovacic deal would potentially include an option to buy. Real Madrid will probably pay a total of £35m for the Belgian keeper Courtois, according to the latest reports.
This would represent a successful window for Chelsea, all in all. They look like they will end up with a very exciting midfield three of Jorginho Kanté and Kovacic. In addition, they will have secured a replacement for Courtois. Furthermore, the rejection of Madrid’s pursuit of Hazard will almost feel like a new signing in itself.
Chelsea have also been involved with rumours about signing former Liverpool target Nabil Fekir, but that particular signing now seems less likely.