With Chelsea having developed something of a penchant for splashing the cash during the Roman Abramovich era, it’s fairly easy to suggest that not all that money has been spent wisely over the last 20 years or so.
The likes of Andriy Shevchenko, Fernando Torres and Alvaro Morata have been just a few of the notable expensive flops in the modern Premier League era for the Blues, albeit with arguably their most costly transfer deal having been that of Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The Spaniard arrived in the summer of 2018 amid high expectations after impressing for former side Athletic Bilbao, although both his stock – and his market value – have since nosedived after a dismal last few seasons.
Plucked from the Basque side for a hefty £71.6m as a replacement for Thibaut Courtois – with the west London outfit having to match his release clause to secure the deal – the then-youngster was viewed as something of a long-term investment.
Four years on, however, the 27-year-old’s future at the club remains uncertain, with former Rennes man Edouard Mendy having firmly cemented his status as the undisputed number one over the last two seasons.
In truth, the 11-cap international has rarely looked of the quality desired for an elite Premier League team, a view echoed by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher last year, with the Liverpool legend suggesting that the 6 foot 1 stopper is “not a £70m goalkeeper” and that Chelsea had been “done” in the transfer market.
He has also caught the headlines for all the wrong reasons on multiple occasions, memorably coming under fire after refusing to be substituted towards the end of the 2019 Carabao Cup final, only for the Blues to then go on to lose to Manchester City in the penalty shootout.
The player was subsequently fined for that refusal – and labelled a “disgrace” by Chris Sutton – although again was at the centre of controversy in the same competition earlier this season, having been brought on for teammate Mendy for another shootout, although failed to save any of the opponent’s penalties and missed a spot-kick of his own, as Jurgen Klopp’s side clinched the trophy.
That display perhaps epitomises what has been a wretched Stamford Bridge spell for the Blues ‘keeper, with it no real surprise that the club are reportedly open to letting the player depart this summer.
Quite how much of their initial fee they will be able to recoup remains to be seen, however, with the player’s market value currently at just £9m, having previously peaked at £54m back in June 2019, as per Transfermarkt.
That represents an almighty decline considering his initial cost, although the club will seemingly be keen to shift his reported £145k-per-week wage off their expenses, particularly with three years still remaining on his existing deal.
Amid the ongoing sanctions and overall ownership uncertainty, they could well be stuck with their expensive asset for a little while, with Kepa continually a reminder of just what an expensive mistake he has been.