Chelsea will have to recall a number of players this summer from loan in light of their two-window transfer ban imposed recently by FIFA – and where better place to start with than the goalkeeping department?
Current first-choice Kepa could potentially carry on serving as first-choice keeper for many years to come. The Spaniard did commit a horrendous error of judgment when he refused to be substituted at the end of the Blues’ League Cup final against Manchester City, which they subsequently lost on penalties. However, he can be forgiven; he is only 24 years old and will likely get more mature and improve as a player with age.
Character transgressions aside, Kepa has shown flashes of brilliance this season and could potentially develop into one of the league’s best keepers in the years to come. He’s certainly played a major role in the Blues’ push for Champions League contention, and having him firing on all cylinders will be crucial as Chelsea look to mount a late charge into the top four.
Still three points back of fourth-placed Arsenal with just eight matches to play, SBD has the odds falling to 7/4 for a Blues finish in the Top 4. While their remaining opponents are manageable, overall, they don’t have a head-to-head with the Gunners left and their last tilt with fifth-place Man U is at Old Trafford.
But who will provide backup for Kepa once the season is over? The contracts of Rob Green and Willy Caballero are due to expire this summer. It is unlikely that the former England keeper Green will remain at the club, considering he has not played a competitive game in nearly two years and is now nearly 40 years of age.
Caballero could potentially stay beyond this season, but it remains to be seen whether he will agree to an extension, especially given his eventual snubbing in the aforementioned League Cup final. One of the options the Blues could instead consider is to offer a contract extension to Brazilian-born Croatian shot-stopper Eduardo, who is currently on loan with Vitesse in the Dutch Eredivisie.
The Blues may not be able to purchase new players this summer but they can extend the deals of players already contracted to the club. Therefore, recalling a player such as Eduardo to Stamford Bridge is possible, even though his current contract is expiring soon and would have to be extended. The 36-year-old would almost definitely be able to provide quality competition and cover to Kepa. He has been very active in the Eredivisie this season, making 26 appearances and even notching up one assist in the process.
Eduardo has vast experience at the highest level and Chelsea must seriously consider giving him a contract extension at the end of the season.