Kepa sends message to Thomas Tuchel over Edouard Mendy & Chelsea no.1 spot

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Kepa impressed in the EFL Cup (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga insists he’s ‘ready’ to take his opportunity to stake his claim to be the club’s no.1 when Edouard Mendy departs for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

Mendy replaced the Spaniard as Chelsea’s first choice following his arrival from Rennes in 2020, with Kepa being reduced to playing in cup competitions.

Chelsea made Kepa their most expensive signing in 2018 when they signed the Spaniard for a fee of around £71m from Athletic Bilbao.

However, he struggled to adapt to life in England and Frank Lampard opted to sign Mendy in 2020, with the Senegal international shoring up the club’s defence.

But Mendy could be missing for up to a month in January when he attends the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.

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Mendy has been in fine form this term (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

And Kepa, who was the penalty shootout hero against Southampton in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, says he’s ready to take his chance with both hands.

‘Well, it’s two months away. Of course we know it can happen and I will be ready but we have a lot of games until we start thinking about that,’ said Kepa.

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‘Let’s go step by step and we’ll see what happens. If he goes to the African Cup, all the best and I’ll be ready. But it’s still a long way to arrive at that point.

‘I’ve always said I try to help the team in the best way but I do feel really good at penalties.

‘I feel confident. It’s a bit of luck, a bit of work, a bit of everything but I feel really good.

‘Of course I want to play more regularly. My last game was also a cup game, more or less a month ago, so it’s not easy to sometimes step in and feel the same as you would if you play every week.

‘But I try to be ready, train hard, be involved in the team. Also, I feel the confidence of the manager – this is really important. I’ve felt his support from the beginning and I think when I step in I’m ready to help the team. I’m happy to do that.’


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