Kepa Arrizabalaga says he was excited about the chance to move to the Premier League with Chelsea and appreciated their willingness to make him the most expensive goalkeeper ever.
The Spanish shot-stopper completed a £71.6million move from Athletic Bilbao to Stamford Bridge just before the end of the English transfer window after the Blues activated his release clause.
Kepa had been linked with a move to Real Madrid just a few months earlier, when his buy-out fee was only £18m, but he opted to sign an extension with Athletic that bumped up his release clause.
However, the opportunity to join Chelsea as their undisputed No.1 was an offer too good to refuse, and Kepa is delighted with his decision.
Asked why he finally agreed to join Chelsea after rejecting approaches from Real and even Juventus, Kepa told AS: ‘It is a great club, which in recent years has won the Champions League, Europa League and the Premier League.
‘I’m happy for all the effort that Chelsea has made because it’s not easy to pay those amounts and I’m looking forward to returning it on the field.’ Probed if not having to face boyhood club Athletic played a role in his decision, he continued:
‘I don’t know. It’s true it’s taken me away from home and the circle I’ve always grown up in.
‘It’s important for my career. It’s true I’m going to another league, and I would only face Athletic in European competition – which would be a good sign for both clubs.
‘So maybe [not having to play against Athletic was important]. But above all else what weighed most was the interest from Chelsea and how much they showed they wanted to sign me.’