Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga close to joining Real Madrid on loan

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is close to joining Real Madrid on loan.

Madrid’s regular number one Thibaut Courtois, 31, has suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury and is set to miss the majority of the season.

Ex-Manchester United goalkepeer David de Gea, who is a free agent, had been linked with the Berneabeu but Kepa, 28, has emerged as Madrid’s first choice.

Kepa faces competition at Chelsea from Spanish compatriot Robert Sanchez after his £25m switch from Brighton.

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino acknowledged on Friday that there would be “very good competition” between Kepa and Sanchez at Stamford Bridge.

Kepa joined Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao for £71m in August 2018 – the highest fee ever paid for a goalkeeper.

However, he subsequently lost his place to Edouard Mendy only to regain it last season when the Senegal goalkeeper was out injured.

Mendy has since left Chelsea after they sold him to Saudi Pro League side Al-Ahli in June.

Kepa, who has made 163 appearances for Chelsea, had also been linked with a move to Bayern Munich, where Germany international Manuel Neuer has suffered an injury setback of his own.

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