Chelsea complete season-long loan for Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic
10 August, 2018, 09:02 | Author: Elena Meyer
Madrid tried to sign David De Gea from Manchester United after Casillas left but it missed a deadline and the deal didn't go through.
The keeper has already amassed 54 senior appearances for Athletic after coming up through their youth system, as well as earning one senior cap for Spain and representied his country at every youth level.
Asked about Kepa after Chelsea's pre-season win over Lyon on penalties on Tuesday, Blues boss Maurizio Sarri said: "I saw him one year ago".
"I have the maximum respect for Atletico, they took me on loan when I was young and I won many things, but it was different because I was on loan", he said.
In January, Kepa signed a new long-term contract with Athletic until 2025, amid interest from Real Madrid. The deal fell through at the last moment though, as then manager Zinedine Zidane pulled the plug before the deal could be completed.
Chelsea had to move quickly to find a goalkeeper after it became clear Courtois was determined to force through a £35m move to Real Madrid.
"The Spanish worldwide goalkeeper arrives ahead of the new Premier League season, having signed a seven-year contract at Stamford Bridge", Chelseasaid in a statement. Considered Spain's goalkeeper of the future, he was a reserve at the World Cup in Russian Federation.
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Kovacic caught the eye from a very early age, and after joining Dinamo Zagreb's academy as a teenager, it wasn't long before he had established himself in their first team. After advancing into the senior squad in 2012 his rise was steady rather than spectacular.
Real Madrid will start the season with something it hasn't had in years: Competition over who will start in goal.
A more accurate reflection of his talent was his elevation into the Spain squad, although his outing in a 5-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in November 2017 remains his only worldwide appearance to date.
"It's great that big fees are paid for strikers and other players, but why not for goalkeepers?"
Kepa arrives at Stamford Bridge as the most expensive goalkeeper in footballing history, eclipsing the fee Liverpool spent to recruit Alisson from Roma this summer.
The 26-year-old appeared unwilling to wait a further 12 months to grant his move with Sarri publicly telling Courtois to confront him personally if he wishes to leave the club.
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