Sarri braced for 'busy day' as Chelsea close on €80m Kepa as Courtois replacement

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The Blues boss has stopped short of a confirming a record-breaking deal is in the pipeline, but has admitted to being a fan of the Spanish goalkeeper

Maurizio Sarri is readying himself for a “very busy day” as Chelsea close on the record-breaking €80 million (£71m/$92m) capture of Kepa Arrizabalaga from La Liga outfit Athletic.

Goal revealed earlier on Tuesday that the Blues have agreed to trigger the release clause in the 23-year-old’s contract.

They have made that decision as Thibaut Courtois, who remains AWOL at present, edges towards a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Chelsea have moved to bring in a replacement with the best years of his career ahead of him, with Sarri admitting to being a fan of Kepa.

He told reporters after seeing his side beat Lyon on penalties in the International Champions Cup: “I saw him one year ago [when I was at] Napoli and my first impression was he was a very good goalkeeper. Very young, but very, very good.”

While admitting to being an admirer of Kepa, Sarri was reluctant to be drawn on the details of a potential keeper switch at Stamford Bridge.

He said: “I don't know. I am here just to talk about this match, and the first question was about Courtois.

“I don't know at this moment. I want to speak with my club. Then, altogether, we'll decide about it.

“If I don't know anything about Courtois, I don't know anything about Kepa.”

Eden Hazard Chelsea Lyon 070818

Sarri did, however, hint that movement is on the cards, with it possible that the Kepa agreement could be pushed through on Wednesday – with his representatives discussing personal terms and the Spain international pictured heading to England.

“Tomorrow I will have a very busy day, but I don't know anything about the market,” said Sarri.

Another of those that is keeping Sarri busy at the moment is Eden Hazard, with Chelsea having taken in another transfer window full of speculation regarding their Belgian playmaker.

They have been able to fend off reports of renewed interest from Real Madrid as Thursday’s deadline approaches, with there a confidence in west London that his talismanic presence can be retained.

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Sarri added on Hazard’s situation, with the 27-year-old back in action against Lyon after a post-World Cup break: “I don't see this problem in this moment.

“I have spoken with Eden two or three times in the last two days. He has spoken of everything. I think this problem, the Hazard problem, is not present now.”

Chelsea are set to open their 2018-19 Premier League campaign away at Huddersfield on Saturday.

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