It’s no secret Chelsea manager Frank Lampard doesn’t rate club-record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga very highly. By benching Kepa for the last five games across all competitions, it’s crystal clear the manager wants a new keeper.
Now, according to the Guardian, Chelsea have offered Kepa plus £25 million to Atletico Madrid in exchange for Jan Oblak.
Long considered one of the best keepers in the world, Oblak (27) has protected Atletico’s goal since 2014. In his time, he has helped the club reach the Champions League final in 2016 where they lost to intra-city rivals Real Madrid, and win the 2018 Europa League final.
Best known for his shot-stopping abilities, Oblak reads the game well and always puts himself in great positions to block any attempts on goal. The Slovenian also can play out of the back, something Lampard wants his number one to feel comfortable doing.
Consequently, his success has not gone unnoticed. Now in his sixth season with the Rojiblancos, Oblak has already made the La Liga Team of the Season and the Champions League Squad of the Season, twice. He has also won the La Liga Award’s Best Keeper of the Season four times.
Furthermore, adding to his club exploits, the Atleti stopper was named Slovenian Footballer of the Year four years in a row from 2015-18.
I wouldn’t be speaking out of turn in saying, he impresses every time he steps on the pitch.
Chelsea’s Chances To Sign Him
Chelsea face an uphill battle to sign the Slovenian this coming summer. First, Atletico Madrid would of course need to find a suitable replacement before selling him on, assuming they don’t rate Kepa either or balk at his wage demands.
If they do decide to meet his wages and make him their number one, do Atletico truly value him monetarily as much as Chelsea?
Transfermarkt lists Oblak’s value at £85 million ($110 million), slightly higher than what Chelsea paid for Kepa- £71.5- a few season ago. But in his two seasons at Chelsea, and because of his recent benching, surely his price has fallen dramatically.
When it comes to transfers, the first offer is almost always rejected by the selling club. Atletico, though, are never going to accept only £30 million and an inferior keeper in exchange. So, as negotiations progress, Chelsea may find themselves priced out very quickly.
Moreover, Atletico lost their defensive spine last summer. Captain and central defender Diego Godin, left for Inter Milan on a free. Left back Filipe Luis also departed the club, returning to his native Brazil on a free. Juanfran left for Sao Paolo on a free as well.
The only defender Atletico profited off of was defender Lucas Hernandez, whom they sold to Bayern for a hefty sum. Atletico letting Oblak leave now too? Unless they want a total rebuild, it doesn’t add up.
As for Chelsea, they may have their eyes set on Oblak, arguably the world’s best keeper. But it may prove tougher to pry him from the Spanish capital than expected.