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Chelsea join the race for Thomas Strakosha as Kepa exit looms

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By Martin Graham | 15th Jun 2022

Chelsea are plotting a move for Thomas Strakosha who is on the verge of leaving Lazio as they seek a replacement for Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The Spanish goalkeeper has officially lost his place to Edouard Mendy since the Senegal international joined the club in 2020. A poor run of form by Kepa forced Chelsea’s hand after they had spent €80 million to make him the world’s most expensive goalkeeper and they got Mendy from Stade Rennais.

Kepa has since been reduced to the club’s cup goalkeeper, a role which he has fulfiled expertly, regaining the form with which he arrived from Athletic Club Bilbao. However, the Senegal international has fully settled into the club’s number 1 position and has kept Kepa out.

The Spain international is now seeking a way out and has been rumoured to be a target for Lazio, managed by former Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri. Sarri is also reported to be keen on a reunion with Kepa.

Sarri is also done with Strakosha who is seeking an exit from Lazio. Chelsea are now reported to be interested in taking the Albanian who will be available for free this summer once his deal with Lazio runs out. Strakosha was formerly linked with Fulham but the newly-promoted club are now focused on Bernd Leno, who is set to depart Arsenal after four seasons.

Chelsea, however, will wait to see what happens with Kepa before they move for Strakosha as the Spaniard is still considered an important member of the squad.

Ferland Mendy on the market; Chelsea to make move for French defender

Elsewhere, it has been revealed that Real Madrid are willing to part ways with Ferland Mendy this season and Chelsea has been alerted to the possibility.

Mendy has kept veteran Marcelo out of the Madrid squad since he signed in the 2019/20 season. He has also been pivotal to their success in that time which saw them haul five trophies in that time including two LaLiga titles and the UEFA Champions League.

However, it looks like the Spanish giants consider him sellable, which would be counterintuitive following the exit of Marcelo from the club on Monday after 15 years.

Spanish outlet AS claims that Carlo Ancelotti is leaning towards returning David Alaba to his favoured left-back role following the signing of Antonio Rudiger and as such, will accept a bid of £43.3 million for the Frenchman.

Chelsea are interested but could face a bidding war with Manchester United and Juventus who are also interested in securing the Frenchman’s signature.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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