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Chelsea have identified Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha as a potential replacement for Kepa Arrizabalaga this summer, according to reports in Italy.
This comes after the Spaniard has featured as the Blues’ back-up goalkeeper for the last two seasons, providing cover for Edouard Mendy.
There have been rumours regarding the shot-stopper’s future at Stamford Bridge ahead of the 2022 World Cup, with Spain’s number one spot up for grabs.
“It depends what he wants and what his plans are,” Tuchel said last month over whether or not the Spaniard would remain at Chelsea next season.
“I know that we are very privileged to have Edou and Kepa in our squad but I also know for sure that Kepa is not happy about the situation because he deserved to play more and he can be a very strong number one. He arrived as a number one so the situation is not easy. He has been a fantastic team player since day one and never let anybody down.
“We did not have a conversation yet but I know that the goalkeeper coaches have these conversations at the moment and then we will take our time to speak with him and reflect on what’s best and what the possibilities are. As a coach, of course I’m super happy to have both strong goalkeepers so let’s see.”
Therefore, the Blues are in the market for a replacement if Kepa is to depart and as reported by Fabrizio Romano, Strakosha has been identified.
The Albanian will only be brought in if Kepa is to depart, with Fulham and Nottingham Forest also interested in signing the Serie A shot-stopper.
Chelsea are set to announce Gabriel Slonina, an 18-year-old goalkeeper, from Chicago Fire as their first signing of the summer.
However, Romano continues to report that the youngster will depart on loan rather than replace Kepa as the back-up at Chelsea.
The interest in Strakosha could show Chelsea’s intent for Nathan Baxter, who has impressed on loan at Hull City in the Championship.
With Marcus Bettinelli operating as the third-choice goalkeeper at Stamford Bridge, it appears that if Strakosha comes in, Baxter would be set for another loan spell.
Whether this is in the Championship, Premier League or abroad remains to be seen as Chelsea are looking for Kepa replacements if he is to depart this summer, rather than allow Baxter to sit on the bench.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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