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Kepa Arrizabalaga happy to fight for Chelsea place

Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga warms up before their Premier League match against Burnley
(Image credit: PA Images)

Kepa Arrizabalaga has claimed he never wanted to leave Chelsea (opens in new tab) and has no fears about making the number one spot his own again.

The 26-year-old, whose £71 million move to Stamford Bridge in 2018 made him the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, has started twice under new manager Thomas Tuchel, in the FA Cup fourth round win at Barnsley and Premier League victory over Newcastle (opens in new tab).

While summer arrival Edouard Mendy, preferred by Tuchel’s predecessor Frank Lampard, was recalled to the side for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Southampton (opens in new tab), Kepa is calm about the situation.

“I have never thought about leaving Chelsea,” (opens in new tab) Kepa told Spanish radio station COPE. “From 0 to 10 happy, I’m 7.5.”

“I did not have any problems with Lampard,” he continued. “It’s true that I did not give the best version of myself or play as I would have wanted. But we never had any issue.”

The Spain international’s time in London has been notable for a multitude of errors – as well as the controversy of the Blues’ 2019 Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City (opens in new tab), where he was set to be replaced by Willy Caballero for the penalty shootout but defied Maurizio Sarri by refusing to come off.

With his Chelsea deal running to 2026 and the current financial climate brought on by the pandemic, it doesn’t look like Kepa will be heading anywhere any time soon.

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