SUMMER TRANSFER DEADLINE DAY
It is a change of guard as one goal guardian moves from Spanish La Liga to the English Premiership League while another one is moving in the opposite direction this summer transfer deadline day.
Today, Thibaut Courtois will complete his transfer to La Liga giants, Real Madrid believed to be in the region of €35million.
Courtois has been on the brink of officially becoming the new goalkeeper at Santiago Bernabéu as the Belgium has been on Los Blancos radar for several seasons.
The 26-year-old was made available at a cut-price as he is entering the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge.
He absence from Chelsea’s training this week fueled speculations that his move was sealed.
According to agency reports, talks between the two clubs were put on hold while Chelsea tried to identify a replacement.
It was until Chelsea sealed deal with Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, that the Blues gave final green light for Courtois’ exit.
Belgian 90min, reported that the Chelsea shot-stopper reached an agreement with Real Madrid for a six-year contract in the Spanish capital.
Courtois has been a Blues player since 2011, when he signed from Belgian club Genk, and was loaned to Atletico Madrid from 2011 to 2014.
Kepa, 23, on the other hand, paid his release clause of £71m to La Liga, which allows him to leave Athletic Bilbao and clears the way for a transfer to the Premier League.
The deal is a world record for a goalkeeper, surpassing the £66.8m Liverpool paid for Alisson in July.
Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic, 24, is also set to join Chelsea on a season-long loan. Kovacic spent the last three seasons at Real after joining from Inter Milan and played in Croatia’s run to the World Cup final in July.
Real boss Julen Lopetegui said he “expressed his desire” for the player to stay, after his team’s 2-1 friendly win against Roma on Tuesday night.
In Spain a player must buy himself out of his contract, which was announced by Bilbao on Wednesday.
This is usually done by depositing the amount of the buyout clause with La Liga – Spain’s equivalent of the Premier League – to release the player from his contract. The league then passes the money to the selling club.
Kepa is Spain’s number two behind Manchester United’s David de Gea and has one international cap.
He has spent the past two seasons in Bilbao’s first team, making 53 La Liga appearances.
In January, he signed a new long-term contract with Bilbao until 2025, amid interest from Real Madrid.
Kepa is the second major signing to leave Bilbao this year, after Manchester City signed French defender Aymeric Laporte for £57m in January.