Chelsea should sign Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga if they want to challenge for the Premier League title next season. That’s the opinion of Danny Mills, who believes the England international is ready to play for an elite club.
Arrizabalaga became Chelsea’s club-record signing when arriving in west London from Athletic Bilbao for £72million in August 2018.
But the Spain international, who is also the club’s joint highest-earner on a reported £170,000-a-week, has underwhelmed.
Chelsea conceded 54 goals in the Premier League this season – that’s more than any other side in the top half of the table.
Manager Frank Lampard has made his feelings clear having dropped Kepa on numerous occasions this season – including Saturday’s FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal.
Chelsea have been linked with Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak but Mills thinks Pope could represent an excellent option for considerably less.
And has rubbished suggestions that the 28-year-old’s distribution isn’t good enough.
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“I think Pope is ready to be a goalkeeper at an elite club,” Mills told Football Insider.
“There will always be people that question his distribution but hang on a minute, he has never been asked to play that way so we do not know if it is a massive issue or not.
“I do not buy into that. He can certainly adapt.
“Chelsea are not buying Nick Pope for the future, they are buying Nick Pope for now. If they want to go and challenge next season they need a goalkeeper now.
“That is what Liverpool did with Alisson. They did not wait for some kid, they addressed the situation.”
Meanwhile, former Blues stopper Mark Bosnic is convinced that Kepa Arrizabalaga will leave having been axed numerous times by Frank Lampard this season.
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“I can totally understand where Frank Lampard is coming from, he [Kepa Arrizabalaga] hasn’t had a particularly good season and the bottom line is if you have a fall-out with the manager in any type of way, it’s a slippery slope,” Bosnich told Sky Sports News.
“So I can fully understand Frank wanting to basically take that level up and to say ‘look, listen, he’s just not for me, I want somebody else’.
“If that’s the case then there’s going to be an issue as the club shelled out so much money for him.
“I don’t think they’ll be able to recoup that money, they may be able to recoup some.
“The goalkeeper can make it very difficult for Chelsea by saying: ‘If you’re going to sit me out of the team, I’ll just sit here on these massive wages and run down my contract for nothing’.
“So I think they’ve got a big decision to make. But I think it’s quite evident from what we’ve seen, and the fact that he didn’t play in that last game of the season, that he will be on his way.”
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