Kepa Arrizabalaga has become the biggest flop in Chelsea’s history, claims Chris Sutton, with a man who once struggled to justify his own £10 million ($13m) price tag placing a £71m ($92m) goalkeeper above the likes of Fernando Torres and Andriy Shevchenko at the top of an unfortunate chart.
The Blues made Spain international Kepa the most expensive keeper in world football when snapping him up from Athletic Club in the summer of 2018.
He was considered to be one for the present and future in west London, with a pricey addition in west London still only 25 years of age.
Kepa has, however, struggled to justify the faith shown in him and is yet to offer any kind of return on Chelsea’s considerable outlay.
In many ways he is now holding them back, with costly errors creeping into his game as the Blues seek to rid themselves of such struggles and become more consistent.
Kepa is far from being the only big-money buy to have fluffed his lines at Stamford Bridge but, with Frank Lampard seemingly set to bring in Rennes star Edouard Mendy as his replacement, Sutton feels a calamity keeper has become the worst signing in Chelsea’s recent history.
The former Blues striker told the Daily Mail: “You can spend a king's ransom on your attack but if your goalkeeper can't even catch a cold, then what's the point?
“Kepa Arrizabalaga cost Chelsea £71.6 million in 2018 but has never proven worthy of being the world's most expensive goalkeeper. In committing another clanger [in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool] he further established himself as Chelsea's worst value signing in the Premier League era.
“Maybe their worst since I cost them £10m! I moved to Stamford Bridge for big money in 1999. It didn't work out and a year later I was sold to Celtic for £6m.
“It happens. Sometimes it's best to move on. You could also name Fernando Torres at £50m (though a few Chelsea fans might say that historic semi-final goal against Barcelona was worth the fee alone). Andriy Shevchenko at £30m, too. But Kepa surely beats all of us. Sadio Mane's goals on Sunday meant he had conceded 11 of the last 16 shots he's faced.
“In football, you always get a chance to redeem yourself. I got that at Celtic, and Kepa might have to go prove himself elsewhere, too. Edouard Mendy cannot arrive from Rennes soon enough for Frank Lampard, who is under big pressure to win a trophy this season.
“Chelsea aren't the type of club who say: 'No problem - have another go next season!' Lampard knows as well as anyone that silverware is a must.”
Chelsea, who could have a new number one on their books by the time they next take to the field, will take in a Carabao Cup clash with Barnsley on Wednesday before returning to Premier League action away at West Brom on Saturday.