Kepa Arrizabalaga has expressed his gratitude to Maurizio Sarri who was confident enough to sign him for Chelsea.
The Blues No1, who was signed from Athletic Bilbao for £71 million, a world-record fee for a goalkeeper, played a vital part in his side’s difficult 1-0 victory over Vidi in the Europa League, coming up with a number of important saves to deny the Hungarian champions any points to take away from Stamford Bridge.
Speaking after the match, the Basque stopper, who turned 24 the day before Thursday’s game against Vidi, said it was a hard-fought game but was happy his side came out winners. “I am happy, especially for the victory of the team. It is true it has been tougher than it should have been,” said the Chelsea keeper. “It has been hard to get the goal, even though we did have some chances to make it earlier, but we didn’t get the goal. However, I think we did a good game and we control the possession. I am happy to get the three points.”
Having spent his entire career at the various tiers of Spanish football following his move to west London last summer, Kepa acknowledges he is still coping with the physical robustness and pace of the Premier League but praises the lively ambience in and around the stadium during matches.
“There are differences with the Spanish football,” added the former Athletic goalkeeper. “The player is less protected, inside the box as well. So, the rhythm is high but at he end of the day is football and it is the atmosphere around very nice.”
Kepa also says he is not bothered by the massive fee that Chelsea paid to bring him to Stamford Bridge, which was £5 million more than what Liverpool paid for Alisson, before adding that he is thankful for Maurizio Sarri’s confidence in bringing him to west London.
“It’s normal that when someone pay that amount of money they talk about your transfer. You have to show your value but I am not focused on my price, I am just trying to do my job. I am really grateful for his confidence to sign me. Obviously he was key for me joining the club. I feel really comfortable on the way he likes to play, I am so happy and grateful.”