Report: Athletic's Kepa could join Real Madrid
Juan Manuel Serrano Arce / Getty Images Sport / Getty
A journey to Spain’s capital is reportedly in the cards for Kepa Arrizabaraga.
Kepa is earmarked as Real Madrid’s first-choice goalkeeping target, according to Marca’s Juan Ignacio Garcia-Ochoa. The Basque shot-stopper’s contract at Athletic Club expires at the end of the season, and he’ll be free to negotiate a pre-agreement beginning in January.
Kepa apparently rejected an offer from Athletic that included an annual salary of €3 million and a release clause of €75 million.
Real Madrid is reportedly unlikely to be deterred in the event Kepa signs a contract renewal at Athletic. Since he’s very aware of their interest, it will be up to the ‘keeper to resist putting pen to paper until he’s heard Los Blancos’ offer. The prospect of compensation is apparently not ruled out.
The deal allegedly revolves around Florentino Perez, Real Madrid’s president, capturing a Spanish ‘keeper. But Kepa’s arrival wouldn’t force Keylor Navas to leave the Santiago Bernabeu, as the two shot-stoppers would reportedly battle it out for the No. 1 shirt, and the Costa Rican protector would be phased out as the end of his contract draws nearer. Furthermore, Los Blancos are apparently happy to review his contract situation, due to his attitude and professionalism.
Kepa is believed to have earned the trust of manager Zinedine Zidane through Luis Llopis, Real Madrid’s goalkeeping coach, who was once employed by Los Leones and is recommending the ‘keeper.
Kepa took the pitch in Athletic’s first six games of the La Liga season, keeping a clean sheet in the first two.