International Soccer

Real Madrid make decision on Kepa Arrizabalaga future

Real Madrid are not expected to keep Kepa Arrizabalaga beyond the end of his current loan, meaning the 29-year-old will return to parent club Chelsea this summer.

Kepa joined Madrid in August as a direct response to Thibaut Courtois, ironically the man he was signed to replace at Chelsea in 2018, tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee.

But despite initially getting the nod from Carlo Ancelotti in the autumn, Kepa fell behind Andriy Lunin in the pecking order when he suffered a minor injury in November and hasn’t regained his place.

With Courtois set to return to action next season, having seen his initial slated comeback delayed by an injury setback, Madrid will soon have no need for Kepa at all. Fabrizio Romano reports the plan at the Bernabeu is let him go in June and instead prioritise a contract extension for Lunin.

Even with the threat of soon returning to an understudy role and the potential that he could land a starting job elsewhere, Lunin has expressed a desire to stay with Madrid. “I would like to stay,” were his words on the subject when asked by Spanish media in February.

Andriy Lunin

Andriy Lunin will stay as a back-up for Thibaut Courtois / Diego Souto/GettyImages

The Ukrainian’s current deal is due to expire at the end of next season.

2025 is also when Kepa’s contract at Chelsea is up. He was No.1 at Stamford Bridge as recently as last season after seeing off competition from Edouard Mendy, but the Blues brought in Robert Sanchez from Brighton & Hove Albion in a deal worth up to £25m during the summer, paving the way for Kepa to go once the Madrid opportunity came up – he was earlier considered by Bayern Munich.

Even if Sanchez isn’t deemed the man for the long-term, Chelsea remain linked with Aaron Ramsdale, who is set to become available after losing his place at Arsenal, and they may yet consider Djordje Petrovic to be good enough to continue in goal.

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