Kepa Arrizabalaga has become a “tough sell” for Chelsea, admits Robert Green, with error-strewn performances from a £71 million ($95m) goalkeeper meaning that the Blues may find it difficult to find any takers in January.
Frank Lampard is expected to seek out suitors for a Spain international when the transfer window re-opens.
Kepa has slipped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, with Edouard Mendy drafted in over the summer to take his place between the sticks.
A 26-year-old custodian struggling for confidence could do with finding regular game time elsewhere in 2021, but attracting interest may prove tricky.
Green expects that to be the case, with there a chance – given the financial factors involved – that even a loan agreement will be out of reach.
“It’s a tough sell. It’s a numbers thing,” former Blues keeper Green told The Athletic.
“Chelsea and [their director] Marina Granovskaia are not in the business of losing money.
“They have an asset which is depreciating greatly but with football clubs in the financial state they’re in, it’s going to be tough to put something together.
“I’m not even talking just about selling, even a loan is going to be a struggle.
“The transfer fee and the wages [believed to be around £170,000 a week] is the biggest obstacle to resolving the situation.”
Green added on the lack of options available to Kepa, with clubs around the world prioritising other areas for strengthening in the middle of a season: “Someone has to have a real shortage and if someone goes, then a slot from the selling club also has to be filled. That’s why it rarely happens.
“If you’ve got money to spend on fees and wages in January, invariably, you will spend it on a striker or an attacking player. You’re usually covered for keepers in a season, so to need one is unlikely and on the financial side of it, it is very rare you spend your budget on a keeper.
“If you’re a club, especially one struggling at the bottom, your main thinking is, ‘I don’t need someone to save me 15 goals’. You’re thinking, ‘I want one to score 15 goals’.
“This mindset exists because, as a keeper, you’re not seen to be creating something — you’re just stopping something. If you make a save, people will say ‘he should have saved that’. It’s quickly forgotten. Should a striker do a bit of skill and fire one in from 25 yards, people think, ‘If he does stuff like that a number of times, we stay up, achieve our ambitions’.”
Kepa started the season as Chelsea’s No.1, as Lampard closed in on Mendy, but has seen just one Champions League appearance – in a 1-1 draw with Krasnodar – since the middle of October.