Belfast Telegraph

I'm here to win titles and become a Chelsea legend, vows Kepa

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Kepa Arrizabalaga has acknowledged that his world-record transfer fee bares testament to the rising value of goalkeepers in the modern game.

The 23-year-old Spaniard was unveiled as Chelsea's No.1 yesterday following the departure of Thibaut Courtois, who completed his move to Real Madrid late on Wednesday evening.

After Courtois made clear his desire to leave for the Spanish capital on his return from the World Cup - the Belgian skipped training in a bid to force through the move - Chelsea were forced into the market.

The 2017 champions turned to Spain international Kepa in a £71m deal, making the youngster the most expensive goalkeeper in history.

Addressing the transfer, Kepa said: "The market in general has gone up a lot in the last few years. It has to do with a lot of things, like contracts with the media companies, but it is great to value goalkeepers."

When asked what he hopes to achieve at Chelsea, having signed a seven-year contract, the Spaniard said: "I expect to achieve great personal growth and growth as a collective as a team. I hope we will win many titles and that I can be proud of what I achieved.

"All clubs need to fight to win titles and what all players want is to win. So what I would like is to win more titles for the club. This is what I aspire to do. I would like to be remembered at this club when I leave years down the line as a goalkeeper that helped the club win a lot of titles and gone down in history."

Kepa also urged the likes of Eden Hazard to stay at Chelsea amid reports linking the playmaker to Real Madrid.

"I always like to have the best players in my team. For him, it is a personal situation but I hope to have the best players around me," he said.

This came just hours after Courtois expressed his hope that Hazard would join him at the Bernabeu, with the Spanish transfer window open until August 31.

Courtois won two Premier League titles in four seasons as Chelsea's first-choice goalkeeper. Now Kepa is Courtois' successor, after speaking to compatriots Cesar Azpilicueta, Alvaro Morata and Pedro about life at Stamford Bridge.

He said: "I had excellent references from them about the club, knowing them and being able to talk to them has been a great support for me over the last few days. And then of course there are many great players here, like N'Golo Kante, (Eden) Hazard, (Olivier) Giroud. It's a squad full of fantastic players. We have a very exciting season ahead of us, so let's go for it."

Chelsea finished fifth in the Premier League last season in defence of the title they won in 2016-17, missing out on Champions League qualification. They won the FA Cup in Antonio Conte's final match before the Italian was sacked in July, with Maurizio Sarri appointed in his place.

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