Date:16th June 2022 at 7:15am
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Chelsea are interested in Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha.

The Lowdown: Battling to be No.1

The 27-year-old had established himself as the main keeper for the Italian since he came back from a loan spell at Salernitana in 2016.

From that season he had played the majority of league matches until the 2020-21 season when he was displaced by Pepe Reina.

This season has seen the Albania international return to Lazio’s starting XI, starting 23 league games this campaign.

The Latest: Chelsea Interested

Transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano has reported that Chelsea are interested in bringing Strakosha to Stamford Bridge as a potential Kepa Arrizabalaga replacement.

Romano tweeted: “Thomas Strakosha’s now attracting interest, available on a free transfer. Chelsea are considering him as one of the options, but only in case Kepa will leave the club this summer.”

The £6.3m-rated shot stopper’s contract expires this month.

The Verdict: Keep Kepa

Strakosha has had a solid year. He is in the top 25% of goalkeepers in Europe’s top five leagues for clean sheets.

He will bring experience to the Blues, having made 208 appearances to Lazio. He has been a well-appreciated player in Maurizio Sarri’s side, with former teammate Silvio Proto praising the Athens-born keeper, calling him “explosive”.

“I have never seen a goalkeeper as strong as him, behind a group with so much quality. The Albanian is young, physically large, explosive … he has everything it takes to make a career at the top.”

Another thing that will please Thomas Tuchel is that, according to FBRef, the 27-year-old is one of the most statistically similar keepers in Europe’s top five league to Edouard Mendy, the main man between the sticks at the west London club.

This suggests that he will adjust easily to the style of play at Stamford Bridge. However, Kepa has been performing very well this season.

The difference between the Spain international’s post-shot expected goal and goals conceded per 90 minutes, which tells you how well a keeper is doing compared to what they’re expected to do, is 0.34.

This means that when the former Athletic Club no. 1 played for Chelsea this year, he has saved his side roughly a goal more than he was expected to every three games. This is an elite level of performance, and it places him in the top 1% of all keepers in Europe’s top five leagues.

Therefore, while Strakosha would be a solid addition, especially on a free transfer, Tuchel should do everything he can to keep Kepa.

AND in other news, “Talks ongoing…” – Fabrizio Romano drops Chelsea update on “world-class” £63m-rated star…