May 16, 2021

Caballero hoping Kepa stays at Chelsea amid mounting talk of exit for £71m goalkeeper

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The experienced Argentine shot-stopper, who has been the Blues’ No.1 at times, is eager to see a Spanish colleague remain at Stamford Bridge

Willy Caballero is hoping to see the transfer talk surrounding Kepa Arrizabalaga die down, allowing the most expensive goalkeeper in world football to prove his worth at Chelsea.

Speculation is mounting regarding a move elsewhere for Kepa in the next transfer window.

Even if he were to stay put, Frank Lampard is said to be in the market for a new No.1 that would slot into the Blues side ahead of a Spain international.

Fresh faces would also nudge Caballero down the pecking order, with the 38-year-old having committed to another 12 months at Stamford Bridge.

The experienced Argentine has no issue with that, having seen more game time that he expected to this season.

Lampard’s decision to drop Kepa has opened a first-team door and fanned the transfer flames, but Caballero believes a highly-rated 25-year-old should be given a chance to prove his worth – especially as Chelsea invested a record-setting £71 million ($93m) in his current ability and future potential.

“Of course I hope he stays,” Caballero said in the Express on the exit rumours.

“I have known him for two years. Last season was very good for him. This season there were some other things happening, but last year was fantastic. He is still the No.1 goalkeeper for Spain, and is a great goalkeeper.

“We have a great relationship – first of all because we speak the same language.

“We work together well in training. It was the second time that Frank left him out, but in terms of our relationship he has been very good.

“He has been behind me, helped me with everything in the games that I have played.

“That’s all I can say about Kepa. He has shown me and all of us a great face, even in the worst moments for him. That is so professional from him.

“The way that he worked during those weeks and in the last week, he was excellent.”

Caballero was selected between the sticks for Chelsea’s final Premier League game of 2019-20, as they defeated Wolves and booked Champions League qualification through a top-four finish.

He has also been their go-to option in the FA Cup this season and will be hoping to retain that standing for a final date with London rivals Arsenal at Wembley on Saturday.