Chelsea pay Kepa’s world-record €80m release clause

The Blues are on the verge of completing the signing of the Athletic Club goalkeeper, with their Belgian No.1 heading to Real Madrid

Chelsea are closing in on the signing of Kepa Arrizabalaga having activated the goalkeeper’s €80 million (£71m/$92m) release clause. The player’s representatives and lawyers travelled to La Liga headquarters in Valencia to pay the fee, with Kepa now due to travel to London to undergo a medical and finalise personal terms.

Athletic confirmed that the release clause had been paid on Wednesday, issuing a statement that read: “The player Kepa Arrizabalaga has met the requirements for the valid unilateral termination of the contract that linked him to Athletic Club.

“The aforementioned certification indicates that the player has expressed his desire to terminate and unilaterally resolve the relationship that had joined him with the club since the 2004-05 season and that the amount of the compensation established in the contract has been deposited.

“Athletic thanks the player for his contribution during the time he has remained with our club.”

The Kepa deal will break the club’s previous transfer record, set last season when the Blues signed Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid in an initial £58m ($75m) deal, potentially rising to £70m ($90m).

It will also make Kepa the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, less than a month after  Alisson joined Liverpool in a £65m (€73m/$85m) move . The move for the Spaniard will free up Thibaut Courtois to complete a switch to Real Madrid, with the Belgian having been absent from training as he looked to force through a switch to Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid have been keen to bring in Courtois in a €35m deal (£31m/$40m) for some time now, where the funds expected from that transfer being used by the Blues to secure Athletic goalkeeper Kepa. And the Blues’ transfer business isn’t likely to end with Kepa – Goal understandsMaurizio Sarri’s side are in talks over a loan move for Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic .

Indeed, Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui has revealed that his side will attempt to find a “high level replacement” should Kovacic complete a switch to Stamford Bridge . Time is against Sarri and Chelsea, however, with the transfer window for Premier League clubs closing at 5pm BST on August 9. Chelsea get their Premier League campaign underway on Saturday with an away trip to David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town.