Chelsea sign Kepa to replace Madrid-bound Courtois

Chelsea have signed goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao for a world record £71.6 million on a seven-year deal.

The 23-year-old Spain international was brought in to replace Thibaut Courtois, who will complete his move to Real Madrid on Thursday after completing a medical.

Kepa’s release clause was activated earlier on Wednesday, the huge sum topping the previous highest fee for a goalkeeper, the £67 million Liverpool paid for Alisson Becker just last month.

Kepa will join up with his new team-mates on Thursday, and is available to play against Huddersfield in the Premier League on Saturday.

“It’s a very important decision for me, for my career, and also for my personal life,” Kepa told the club website.

“So many things attracted me to the club, all the titles the club has won, the other players, the city, the English Premier League. It’s an accumulation of things, and I am very glad Chelsea has decided to trust me and to take me in as well.”

Kepa made 30 league appearances for Bilbao last season, keeping seven clean sheets in the process. He was a member of Spain’s World Cup squad.

Meanwhile, the Stamford Bridge club confirmed that a deal had been reached with Madrid over Courtois.

The Belgian international will put pen to paper on a six-year contract at the Bernabeu once he has passed a medical.

Croatia international midfielder Mateo Kovacic will join Chelsea on a one-year loan deal as part of the transfer.

“Chelsea and Real Madrid have tonight agreed terms for the permanent transfer of Thibaut Courtois subject to the agreement of personal terms and passing a medical,” Chelsea said in a statement.

“Subject to the completion of the deal Mateo Kovacic will join the Blues on a season-long loan,” it added.

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