Chelsea could complete the signing of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy within a matter of days, according to reports. Frank Lampard is desperate for a new shot stopper and the Blues are apparently close to agreeing a deal with Rennes.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has failed to live up to his price tag following his £71.6million move from Athletic Bilbao two years ago.
The Spaniard has struggled to reach his top form and was dropped by Lampard midway through the season.
Lampard gave his No 1 another chance to cement his place in the team for the final run-in but he was not impressed.
Willy Caballero got the nod for the vital win against Wolves on the final day of the season, in which Chelsea secured a top-four place.
Arrizabalaga had to watch from the bench as the west Londoners lost the FA Cup final to Arsenal and were dumped out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich.
Chelsea may have looked to offload the 25-year-old this summer but no club would be able to afford to meet their valuation, nor cover the keeper’s salary.
That ruled out Lampard making a move for Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak as there would be no room in the budget to meet his £108m release clause.
A cheaper alternative was required and Chelsea scouts feel Mendy is the ideal candidate to challenge Arrizabalaga for a starting spot next season.
The Athletic claims the transfer could go through within days and would take the club’s spending above £250m in this window alone.
Chelsea moved early this summer to capture attacker Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner from Ajax and RB Leipzig, respectively.
Defenders Ben Chilwell, Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva then arrived in the space of a few days.
Last week, the Blues confirmed their biggest signing of the summer so far in Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz.
And Mendy is on course to be the seventh new arrival at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea initially had a £14m bid rejected by Rennes but an agreement is expected to be reached soon.
Petr Cech, Chelsea’s technical and performance director, recently explained why he has been tasked with finding a new goalkeeper.
“Kepa struggled last season, that is unquestionable,” he said.
“But the club invested in him and gave him a long-term contract because they believe he has the qualities and attributes to be successful.
“Additions will be made to the squad, perhaps even in goal, and this is what is being discussed now.
“But nobody is giving up on Kepa and we all hope he has a great future.”
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