If Chelsea sign Andre Onana, where does Kepa Arrizabalaga go?

Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) /

Andre Onana has proven himself exceptional while at the recently resurgent Ajax; his time there is nearing its end, however, and that consequently could mean the end for Kepa Arrizabalaga at Chelsea.

It has been difficult for Kepa Arrizabalaga since he came to Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao just two years ago; his relationship with Maurizio Sarri was never too warm, and that tension has grown even more obvious since Frank Lampard’s arrival.

At Chelsea this season, Kepa was benched for a stretch in the winter and was consistently being left out of matches before and after that for his backup, Willy Caballero. As Chelsea was in fourth place when last the Premier League was active, their season was going fairly nicely with that strategy in place, but it certainly isn’t ideal.

Kepa Arrizabalaga is a young man, still years away from turning 30-years-old, his ability is not meant for the bench, but for the playing field.

While Kepa hasn’t been stellar for Chelsea since he came from Spain, he’s been good enough to garner a large transfer fee for a club that could use a young goaltender, able to contribute right away; where could Kepa go in the instance that Frank Lampard fancies Andre Onana to replace him at Stamford Bridge?

Where in the world would Kepa Arrizabalaga go?

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It is easy to imagine Kepa Arrizabalaga going back to Spain surely; while it is his home country and he is a fantastic goalkeeper, it’s difficult to imagine where he would land to suit his desire to win. Sevilla, Valencia or Villarreal come to mind, but they are clearly a tier below the top teams of La Liga Santander; those clubs have top tier goalkeepers already, to suit the reputations of each.

This is where the fun begins in my eyes; two names across Europe pop out to me immediately, Juventus and PSG. Juventus has older goalkeeping with Wojciech Szczęsny and Gianluigi Buffon, and could aid Kepa in growing further as a professional; furthermore, the boss in Turin was just last year the boss at Stamford Bridge.

While we all remember the substitution incident involving them both, they were able to work together for the Europa League trophy and could build upon that in northern Italy.

PSG, on the other hand, has Keylor Navas and a young Garissone Innocent; Kepa Arrizabalaga could be useful for bridging the gap between the two in the future if PSG were to desire him. Thomas Tuchel has the broad resources of PSG behind him and can afford almost any player the club desires, even with the massive contracts of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Jr.

With rumours constantly of Neymar’s potential departure, the burden would be removed and further depth could be added across the club, as I mentioned in an earlier piece on PSG.

Another sleeper choice for Kepa in the instance he becomes replaced by Andre Onana may be in England; Newcastle United. The Magpies, after the imminent take over by a group led by Mohammed bin Salman, will have the resources to redo United to their liking.

Managerial candidates like Mauricio Pochettino and Jorge Jesus would likely desire a dependable goalkeeper to usher in their new era, and ownership could very easily accommodate that to the benefit of both Chelsea and Newcastle United.

What’s the best fit?

Chelsea is the best fit if Kepa Arrizabalaga could somehow reconcile his relationship with manager Frank Lampard. As it stands currently, that is not a real, viable possibility. If Andre Onana were to follow teammate Hakim Ziyech to London, then Kepa would do best in Paris.

It would be another clear notification to Kylian Mbappe that both club and coach are dedicated to creating a winning mentality, culture and team at the heart of France. Should this prove impossible, then joining the Magpies of Newcastle seems to me, the best way to demonstrate resolve and ability. Kepa could become a legendary Magpie if all were to play out under Mauricio Pochettino, and that might be a still better turn of events than at either Chelsea or PSG.

Granted, Chelsea and PSG are both legendary clubs (in their own ways) while Newcastle‘s glory is long at rest. This, however, may serve as an incentive for Kepa to prove himself and build something not as massive as Chelsea, Juve or PSG.

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I think Chelsea would do well to get Andre Onana and offload Kepa, but that doesn’t mean I consider Kepa a lost cause by any stretch. He will likely do better under a different type of manager, or in a different environment; it is quite fair that he be given further opportunity to prove his value at still only 25-years-old.