Kepa Arrizabalaga insists world-record fee will not affect Chelsea form

SIMON JOHNSON
EPA

Kepa Arrizabalaga on Thursday insisted that he won't be negatively affected by Chelsea spending a world-record fee for a goalkeeper on him.

Arrizabalaga was officially unveiled at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea met the £71.6m release clause in his contract at Athletic Bilbao.

The 23-year-old, who replaces Thibaut Courtois as first-choice keeper following his £35.5m switch to Real Madrid, is confident he can handle the scrutiny.

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He said: "I don’t think there will be additional pressure for me, the only pressure I experience is the pressure I put on myself. I am a player that demands a lot from myself and this has always been the same, so I will try to do the best that I can.

"This is a great challenge for me and it means a lot for my career and also in my personal life. It is a great step forward for my career. It is also very brave for the club to take me in.

"In terms of the price, me being the most expensive goalkeeper in the world, it is something I just don't think about. I am just going to be myself, the same I have always been and try to give my best for the club.

"At the end of the day I think some players take more time to adapt, others take less time. Everyone is different. I just hope I will be able to adjust and adapt as soon as possible. But we are all different."

Chelsea considered a number of options over the close season, but made their bid to sign the Spain international on Monday. The deal was finalised last night and he signed a seven-year contract worth around £190,000-a-week.

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But Arrizabalaga claims Chelsea first made an enquiry last month and even suggested he has been a target before this window.

He added: "I came back from my holiday on the 23rd [July] and a few days into training I knew already about the interest from Chelsea in me.

"There had been prior offers from Chelsea to Athletic, but Athletic is a club that doesn't usually take an interest in transfers. But let's say I had been aware of the interest and have for a few weeks now."

(Action Images via Reuters)

Arrizabalaga replaced Alisson, who joined Liverpool for £67m earlier this summer, as the costliest keeper in the world.

Last year Ederson and Jordan Pickford went to Manchester City and Everton for £35m and £30m respectively.

Asked to explain the new trend to spend fortunes on the position, he said: "I'd say that the market, in general, has gone up in price a lot in the last few years. It is to do with many different things, the contracts clubs have with the media now as well.

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"But I agree that it is a way to value the goalkeepers because great fees are paid for strikers and other players but why not for the goalkeepers? It is a good way to acknowledge the importance of a goalkeeper."

His arrival on these shores will intensify his competition with Spain's first choice keeper David de Gea, who plays at Manchester United.

But Arrizabalaga tried to downplay the situation and his bid to beat De Gea to the Golden Glove honour for keeping the most clean sheets.

(Action Images via Reuters)

"The Golden Glove is a result of the season we play and how it ends up," he said. "We have a very exciting season ahead of us, but of course having a good season depends on the whole team, not just on me.

"As long as we play as a united team altogether, we have all the chances. We will go step by step and see what happens at the end.

"In terms of whether I will become a better keeper - of course. This is an experience and all experiences make you better. it will make me a better keeper because it's also a great step forward for me in my career and my personal life."

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