Chelsea are on the verge of loaning Kepa Arrizabalaga to Napoli this summer after a shoddy spell at the club.
However, the Blues will still be largely paying for the goalkeeper with the Italian club not willing to meet his entire pay packet. The Spaniard has played second fiddle to Edouard Mendy since his arrival in 2020 and this summer could be when Kepa finally cuts ties with the London outfit.
The former Athletic Bilbao star made just four appearances in the Premier League last season, and seven in the year before that. And ahead of the World Cup, Kepa has demanded that he be granted a departure in a late bid to make the Spain squad.
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According to Di Marzio, most of the paperwork has been agreed over a season-long loan that will see Kepa make the move to Napoli. However, Chelsea will still have to pay for 75 per cent of his salary.
The stopper is one of the top earners at Stamford Bridge, taking home £150,000 a week. That means that the Blues will still be paying him £112,500-a-week to play in Serie A this season.
Big things were expected of Kepa when he first joined Chelsea in 2019 to replace Thibaut Courtois after breaking the world-record fee for a goalkeeper. However, after suffering some of the worst goalkeeping stats in Europe's top five leagues, it became quickly apparent that the Blues would need a new man between the sticks – signing Mendy to fill in instead.
While Kepa's squad status might not be what he would have wanted in west London, his departure would leave Thomas Tuchel with another area that will need bolstering. While Marcus Bettinelli could step up as back-up, the 30-year-old was only ever brought in as emergency cover.
Chelsea are still in the market to bolster their squad and Tuchel wants to sign another defender, a right-back and a wide forward before the season starts next week. With new owner Todd Boehly installing himself as interim sporting director, it remains to be seen whether the American can fulfil his manager's wishes ahead of the new campaign.
Gabriel Slonina looks set to join from Chicago Fire after being tracked for much of the year. The 18-year-old has been tipped for stardom but the American will stick around in the MLS until January.
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