With reports in Spain claiming that a deal is close between Real Madrid and Atheltic Bilbao for the signature of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, it may have signalled what would be the end of the long running David De Gea to Real Madrid transfer saga.
Radio station Cope are claiming that despite the Basque club’s efforts to tie their number one down to a new contract, Kepa is firmly set on heading out of the door, with numerous big clubs interested in bringing in the highly regarded shot-stopper on a free next summer. Yet it seems the Madrid outfit have won the race.
Regardless of the cost, It’s easy to see why Real are so keen on the Basque keeper. Madrid, under Zidane have favoured a direction towards attracting the best young Spanish talent and giving them their chance straight from the off. The signing of Kepa would be in keeping with Zidane’s philosophy of bedding in a young generation of talent for future success both at Madrid and with the national side.
Keylor Navas has put down his marker as their number one in impressive style for the last three three seasons, steadily winning over his skeptics. Yet at thirty, and without the marketing power of someone seven years his junior, it’s no surprise that Real are looking to sell move on and bring in someone with a few more years on his side.
At 23, Kepa could potentially nail himself down as Los Blancos’ number one for the next ten years. De Gea, 27, who many expected Real to move for in the summer, like Navas isn’t getting any younger. Despite being already the finished product and making his intentions of a move well-known through the medium of a dodgy fax machine two years ago, the decision is a real message of intent, especially with rivals Barcelona waiting in the wings for the highly regarded shotstopper.
As for Kepa, the move to the World and European champions would undoubtedly improve his prospects of challenging for his national side’s goalkeeper jersey in the coming years. Having received a call-up from fellow Basque Julen Lopetegui in March, Kepa is still yet to make his debut senior appearance for Spain, though is expected to make it into Spain’s world cup squad at third choice behind De Gea and Pepe Reina. At Madrid, he could well follow in the footsteps of Iker Casillas, who from a young age had success for both club and country.
Meanwhile, sighs will be felt throughout the red side of Manchester once this deal goes through. Many fans believed this year would be De Gea’s swan song at United, with a move back to his home city this summer speculated to be favoured by De Gea and his family.
For now, United fans may just be able to relax, knowing their keeper isn’t going anywhere for a while. They’ll be hoping too that David and wife, Edurne, aren’t aware just how nice Barcelona and Paris are in August either.