Chelsea Ready To Break World Record For Kepa The Keeper

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Chelsea are in talks with Athletic Bilbao over a £71.5m deal for Kepa as a replacement for Thibaut Courtois, reports the Evening Standard.

The Belgian international remains absent from training at Chelsea’s Chobham facility as the former Premier League champions race against time to find his replacement.

After refusing to meet AS Roma’s £66m valuation for Alisson, Chelsea’s long game backfired when the Brazilian joined Liverpool instead.

Kepa has yet to agree personal terms but headed to Madrid today for talks with the West London club over a move to the Premier League.

The 23-year-old Bilbao goalkeeper’s burgeoning reputation in Spain meant he was an option Real Madrid considered before setting their eyes on the target of Courtois. The 26-year-old Belgian has one year left on his contract and will leave Stamford Bridge next summer, if not sooner.

As a symbol of their intent to get a deal pushed through before the English transfer window closes on Thursday, Real Madrid offered Chelsea Mateo Kovacic, 24, on a year’s loan with an option to buy.

The Blues are adamant Courtois won’t leave Stamford Bridge without a replacement signed but moves suggest the Belgian’s desire to return to Spain will soon be satisfied.