Kepa Arrizabalaga does not see any problem in Todd Boehly coming into the dressing room after games, revealing Chelsea's co-owner often does so.

Reports emerged following Chelsea's home loss to Brighton and Hove Albion that Boehly had spent around an hour in the team's dressing room.

Boehly is said to have declared that Chelsea's results have been "embarrassing". The Blues have lost all three games under interim boss Frank Lampard, who took over after Graham Potter was sacked earlier in April.

Kepa, however, sees no issue with Boehly having his say or visiting the dressing room.

"Todd comes to the changing room in every game," the goalkeeper said at a press conference ahead of Chelsea's Champions League clash with Real Madrid.

"He had different chats with us after different games. I am not going to say what he said.

"It is normal when he came into the changing room."

Lampard, too, has no problem with it.

"I'm comfortable with that," said Lampard. "When an owner is very invested, it's their prerogative to have the input they want, it shows passion."

Kepa has kept his place in the team since Lampard took over from Potter, despite the Chelsea great having dropped him during his first stint as head coach and Edouard Mendy having returned from a hand injury that had kept him out since the World Cup.

The 28-year-old shrugged off any suggestion there is lingering animosity between Lampard and himself.

"It was three years ago, it was a different situation and different everything," Kepa said.

"Now I am playing, Frank is the manager, and he is taking his decision in every game, and when he picks me in the starting XI, I am doing my best.

"It's been my home for five years now. I am very happy to be here. I am feeling like I am at home. I am enjoying this journey that we have had in the last few years.

"In the last two seasons, I played 15 games, but now I am playing, and I am playing well. I feel confident and enjoy it out on the pitch. I think that's the most important thing.

"Obviously, the season, in general, is not the best, but I am personally happy with my season."

Chelsea trail Madrid 2-0 heading into Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg at Stamford Bridge.

Kepa Arrizabalaga looked to be yesterday's man at Chelsea, but such has been his recent form the goalkeeper might have a long-term role to play for the Blues.

He might also be a quick fix this weekend if your fantasy league goalkeeper is having a rough time of it.

In north London, title-chasing Arsenal have a pillar of strength in their backline, and a goal threat too, as Gabriel Magalhaes makes his presence felt at each end of the pitch.

Chelsea face Everton this weekend, while Arsenal tackle Crystal Palace, and away from the capital there is a chance for Ollie Watkins to show his prowess as Aston Villa take on Bournemouth.

Tottenham, still in the hunt for a Champions League place, travel to Southampton with Son Heung-min facing perhaps his favourite opposition.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform has assessed why these four players could help your fantasy league team bring in useful points this weekend.

Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea v Everton)

The turnaround in Kepa's Chelsea career has been astonishing. From looking destined to be a permanent understudy, he has responded to Edouard Mendy's injury absence by making a huge impression and staking a strong claim to keep his place for the long term. Since the World Cup, only Alisson and David de Gea, each with six shutouts, have kept more clean sheets than Arrizabalaga (5).

Spaniard Kepa's 79.55 per cent save rate in this period has been bettered only by Brentford's David Raya (84.62), and this weekend he faces an Everton side who have a joint-worst goals-per-game record this season. The Toffees have 20 goals in 27 Premier League games, or just 0.74 goals per game, the same record as Southampton and Wolves.


Gabriel Magalhaes (Arsenal v Crystal Palace)

Gabriel got Arsenal's opener in the 3-0 win at Fulham last week, and the central defender can be a set-piece threat in another London derby on Sunday.

The Brazilian's goal at Craven Cottage was his 10th in the Premier League, more than any other defender has managed since his debut in 2020-21. This season, no defender has more Premier League goals (3) or clean sheets (12) than the Brazilian, so can you really afford to be without him?

Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa v Bournemouth)

Villa striker Watkins netted his 100th English league goal last time out (excluding play-offs) and is one away from reaching 10 Premier League goals for a third successive season.

Bournemouth will be on their guard, no doubt, a week on from shutting out Liverpool. Watkins has scored six goals in his last seven Premier League games, with only Marcus Rashford (8), Erling Haaland and Harry Kane (both 7) netting more in 2023.

Watkins has missed out on selection for the latest England squad, so he may also feel he has a point to prove this weekend.


Son Heung-min (Southampton v Tottenham)

Son hit four for Tottenham at St Mary's in September 2020, when the pandemic made it a behind-closed-doors game.

The South Korean forward has more goals (10) and more goal involvements (14) against Southampton than he has against any other side in the competition, including eight goal involvements in his last six games against them (6 goals, 2 assists).

He scored in the win over Nottingham Forest last weekend, and will fancy it against struggling Saints.

A new year may bring fresh hope, but the same old problems were clear to see for Chelsea in their 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

A team seemingly stuck in transition and unable to fully adapt to the methods of head coach Graham Potter, Chelsea face a huge battle to even finish in the Premier League top four this season – their absolute minimum target.

Amid all the talk of a struggling attack (only eight other teams have scored fewer goals per game than Chelsea this season), and the need for further freshening up in other areas, the situation regarding the goalkeeping position has all of a sudden gone very quiet.

The opening of the transfer window in recent years, whether prior to the start of a new season or midway through, would lead to strong speculation surrounding the future of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Not so much this time around, with the Spain international usurping Edouard Mendy since Potter's arrival in September and performing steadily between the sticks in the four months since.

Indeed, it could be argued that Kepa has just about been Chelsea's most consistent performer under Potter, albeit far from perfect in what has been a difficult period for the Blues.

Eight times Kepa has been used in the Premier League this season, each of those appearances coming after Thomas Tuchel's departure, and he has kept a clean sheet in half of those matches.

To put that in some perspective, only Newcastle United's Nick Pope – statistically the best keeper in the division this season – is keeping shutouts at a better rate, with Manchester United's David de Gea and Aaron Ramsdale of Arsenal close behind.

Heading into the midweek round of fixtures, meanwhile, no goalkeeper could boast a better save percentage return than Kepa's 83.3 among those to have played more than once, with Pope (80.7) the closest to him in that category.

While he perhaps could have done a little more to keep out some of the six goals he has conceded, Kepa has yet to commit an error leading to a goal in the Premier League this campaign, unlike De Gea, Mendy, Jordan Pickford (one each) and Hugo Lloris (a competition-leading three) among others.

High-profile errors were for a long time a hallmark of Kepa's game. Not only that, the 28-year-old never seemed to be far from the headlines, a perfect case in point being a little under four years ago when refusing to leave the field after Maurizio Sarri tried to substitute him off in the EFL Cup final.

Three years later, in last season's final at Wembley, it was Kepa's missed spot-kick – the 22nd of a remarkable shoot-out – that led to Liverpool lifting the cup at Chelsea's expense.

There have been plenty of highs and lows in between, but that City match in particular may well come to define Kepa's time at Stamford Bridge, however long it is he remains at the club.

But now at a relative high point of his Chelsea career, the former Athletic Bilbao stopper will be out to prove himself once more when Chelsea and City face off twice in the space of three days this week.

It may well be that Potter opts to rotate for the second of those matches, an FA Cup third-round tie on Sunday, but Thursday's league clash at Stamford Bridge will see Kepa get the nod.

He has a pretty mixed record against City in his five seasons as a Chelsea player, conceding 10 goals in five matches, albeit with six of those coming in a single game in the 2018-19 campaign, and has kept three clean sheets.

"I'm feeling very well, I'm feeling confident with and without the ball. I'm feeling like I'm helping the team when they need it, so I'm happy," Kepa said in October after producing another fine display to keep out Brentford in a goalless draw.

"Of course, every player needs this confidence, this push, and I think for the goalkeeper it's even more important when you have continuity. For a goalkeeper, when you're not playing, in training it's not the same. I have to keep going, I have to keep working."

Keep working he has and, aided perhaps by a slice of luck owing to Mendy's injury problems and reported off-the-field problems, Kepa is now Chelsea's first choice until at least the end of the campaign, bar any surprise January moves.

And on the basis of the numbers alone, there is no real reason why Chelsea should look to change in that department in the long term. Of all goalkeepers in the Premier League this term, only Liverpool's Alison (8.4) has prevented more goals than Kepa on 4.1 – rising to 5.1 when excluding own goals.

Essentially, Kepa has kept out four goals more than expected based on the quality of chances for the opposition, bailing out an underperforming defence a number of times. On three occasions this season, Kepa has had to make five or more saves in a single game.

This may all say just as much about Chelsea's defence, which is stuck between the old and new, as it does Kepa. But as Chelsea prepare for their double-header against City, Kepa can at least afford a little smile as his redemption arc perhaps comes full circle.

Real Madrid have reportedly pivoted away from Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and are now treating Benfica's Enzo Fernandez as their top transfer target.

Bellingham, 19, was considered the top priority for the Spanish giants, but a report from Marca claims they now believe he is destined for the Premier League and will instead focus their resources on 21-year-old Fernandez.

Fernandez arrived at Benfica in June after they were able to pry him away from River Plate for a deal worth up to €18million including add-ons, but his exploits on the Champions League stage – including assists against Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus – have that price looking like a steal.



Fernandez was handed his international debut as a 20-year-old back in November 2021, and his continued growth on the European stage earned his spot in Argentina's World Cup squad.

Not content to purely come along for the ride, Fernandez was brought on as a substitute in each of his side's first two group games, and against Mexico he became Argentina's youngest goalscorer at a World Cup since Lionel Messi in 2006.

His ability to both break into and perform for such a quality international side – entering the tournament on a 35-match unbeaten streak before falling to Saudi Arabia – has reportedly sent Fernandez's transfer value through the roof.

Marca's report claims he is now viewed as a €100m talent by Benfica, and they expect to field offers in that neighbourhood soon.



– According to Relevo, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag views the Netherlands' World Cup hero Cody Gakpo as his ideal replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

– Fichajes is reporting Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are all showing interest in 22-year-old Ajax midfielder Mohammed Kudus amid his excellent performances for Ghana.

Bayern Munich remain interested in Tottenham's Harry Kane and are working on an offer between €80-100m, per Sky Sports Germany.

– The Sun is reporting Chelsea are not happy with both Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga and will look to bring in a new first-choice goalkeeper.

– With Rafael Leao likely leaving Milan at the end of the season, Gazzetta dello Sport claims they will try to fill the void with RB Salzburg's 22-year-old Swiss international Noah Okafor.

Patrick Kluivert and Aymeric Laporte were among the leading names to pay tribute to Gerard Pique after the Barcelona and Spain great announced he is to retire.

The 35-year-old confirmed on Thursday that Barca's clash at Camp Nou with Almeria on Saturday will be his last appearance for the Blaugrana.

World Cup and European Championship winner Pique calls an end to his career with eight LaLiga titles and three Champions League crowns from his time with the Catalan giants.

Former Barca forward Kluivert outlined his appreciation for the centre-back, posting "Thanks for everything".

Fellow Spain defender Laporte echoed a similar sentiment with a message stating: "You are great! Thank you", while Barca team-mate Ferran Torres hailed Pique as "the best".

Giuseppe Rossi played with Pique at Manchester United before the Spaniard returned to his homeland in 2008 and labelled his former team-mate as "number one".

The former Italy international posted: "A pleasure to share [the] locker room and the field together! You are number Rossi's 1 Gerry! A big hug. Enjoy you deserve it."

Legendary centre-back Fabio Cannavaro, along with Rafinha and Javier Mascherano, posted a series of heart emojis and raised hands to applaud Pique.

Ivan Rakitic, another ex-Blaugrana colleague, added: "Always on my team", while Spain goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga followed suit by calling Pique a "legend" with a heart emoji.

Kepa Arrizabalaga is relishing Graham Potter's faith in him after producing another excellent performance in Chelsea's 0-0 draw with Brentford on Wednesday.

Although Chelsea dropped points in the Premier League for the first time under Potter after struggling to create chances, they had Kepa to thank for preserving their unbeaten record under the former Brighton and Hove Albion boss.  

Kepa made five saves – three of them to deny Ivan Toney – as Chelsea kept their fifth successive clean sheet in all competitions.

The Spaniard – who was reportedly considered surplus to requirements under Potter's predecessor Thomas Tuchel – has been afforded a new lease on life in recent weeks, and is savouring his run in the team.

"I'm feeling very well, I'm feeling confident with and without the ball. I'm feeling like I'm helping the team when they need it, so [I'm] happy," Kepa told Amazon Prime.

"Of course, every player needs this confidence, this push, and I think for the goalkeeper it's even more important when you have continuity. 

"For a goalkeeper, when you're not playing, in training it's not the same. I have to keep going, I have to keep working. 

"We are not happy because I think they had chances, but we had chances, and the last fifteen minutes we were playing all the time in their box. Our feeling is like we dropped two points."

Kepa has now kept five clean sheets in eight appearances this season (in all competitions), while Chelsea have recorded eight shutouts in their last 11 away London derbies in the Premier League, winning nine (D1 L1).

However, Chelsea only managed to hit the target with five of their 14 attempts (36 per cent) against Thomas Frank's stubborn hosts, three of which came after the 85th minute.

Despite the Blues' lack of creativity, Potter refused to criticise his side's performance, telling Amazon Prime: "We are always disappointed when we don't win, but over the course of the game, a point is about fair. 

"We expected a really tough game. The spirit is good for us, we gave everything. It's not easy with the schedule we have, but the boys gave everything, I'm proud of them. 

"We wanted to do a little bit better in the first half, but you have to give credit to your opponent."

Chelsea looked to have been dealt another injury blow when Conor Gallagher was replaced after 15 minutes, but Potter revealed the England midfielder felt unwell and should make a swift return.

"I haven't spoken to the doctors, but he just felt ill," Potter said of Gallagher. "He thought he was going to be sick, so hopefully it's just a 24-hour thing and he will be okay."

Chelsea dropped points in the Premier League for the first time under Graham Potter after producing a flat performance in a 0-0 draw at Brentford.

Kepa Arrizabalaga continued his excellent form to keep the hosts at bay in West London, but a much-changed Chelsea side failed to carve out clear-cut chances during Wednesday's frustrating draw.

While Potter remains unbeaten in seven games with Chelsea in all competitions, the result saw him lose his perfect Premier League record with the Blues, who missed their chance to close in on the top three.

Chelsea remain seven points adrift of leaders Arsenal after failing to break down Thomas Frank's Bees, whose defensive organisation came to the fore in an impressive display.

Kepa made a strong save from Ivan Toney's header as Chelsea withstood a flurry of early Brentford corners, before Conor Gallagher limped off after just 15 minutes in a blow for the Blues.

The Spanish goalkeeper bettered that stop with a terrific reflex save after 33 minutes, clawing another Toney header away from goal after the striker latched onto a second ball in Chelsea's penalty area.

David Raya made his only save of the opening half from Cesar Azpilicueta's low drive two minutes later, before Bryan Mbeumo nodded straight at Kepa after the restart.

Chelsea improved following the introductions of Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic, but their offensive woes were summed up by Kai Havertz shooting straight at Raya after finding space in the area. 

Kepa stood firm once again to stop Toney's low effort with eight minutes remaining, as both defences refused to be beaten in an even affair.

Gabriel Martinelli produced another outstanding display in a thriller against Liverpool last weekend and the Arsenal forward can torment Leeds United on Sunday.

If you have overlooked Martinelli for your fantasy team so far this season, now is the time to see the error of your ways and pick the Brazil international before he wreaks havoc at Elland Road.

Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Eric Dier can also rack up the points when they face Everton in the Premier League.

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is enjoying a new lease of life with Graham Potter at the helm and that could continue this weekend.

It's that time of the week when you need to be finalising your fantasy selections and help is at hand, as Stats Perform pick out the Opta data to point you in the right direction.


Kepa Arrizabalaga (Aston Villa v Chelsea)

Chelsea have made a great start to life under Potter and Kepa Arrizabalaga is certainly enjoying a new era at Stamford Bridge.

The Spaniard has taken over from Edouard Mendy as Chelsea's first-choice goalkeeper, and he has not conceded in the Blues' past three matches.

Of keepers who have played at least 180 minutes in the Premier League this season, only Neto (81.82 per cent) has a better save percentage than Kepa's 80. Only Wolves (3) have a lower goal tally than Aston Villa's seven in the top flight in the 2022-23 campaign, so Kepa looks like your man between the sticks this weekend.

Eric Dier (Tottenham v Everton)

Only Ruben Dias (4) has kept more clean sheets among defenders than Spurs centre-back Dier (3) this season.

The England international has also scored twice, with goal always a bonus for defenders in the battle for fantasy football prizes.

Everton have scored just the eight goals in nine Premier League games this season, so you can get a good return from putting Dier in your side.

Gabriel Martinelli (Leeds United v Arsenal)

Martinelli has scored four goals and provided two assists for leaders Arsenal this season.

Both assists have come in his past two matches and he stunned Liverpool with an early opening goal in a 3-2 thriller last Sunday.

Only Kevin De Bruyne (30) and Mohamed Salah (26) have created more chances than Martinelli's 20 this season. He could be too hot for Leeds to handle at Elland Road.

Harry Kane (Tottenham v Everton)

Spurs talisman Kane has scored in four consecutive Premier League games and he was also on target in a midweek Champions League win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Only Erling Haaland (15)  can boast a better goal tally than Kane's eight in the top flight this season, while he is also one of only two players to have both 15 shots on target and 15 chances created (16 and 17). 

Kane's scoring streak can continue when he comes up against the Toffees, who could be up against it in the capital.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has declared he is in "no rush" to select a first-choice goalkeeper between Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy.

Mendy had been long established as the club's number one prior to Potter's arrival at Stamford Bridge, playing a key role in the Champions League success in 2020-21, but has been absent from the former Brighton and Hove Albion boss' first two games in charge due to injury.

Kepa has stepped up in his place and Potter hailed the Spaniard's performance in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace, his first win since taking charge.

Ahead of the Champions League clash against Milan, Potter was quizzed on who will be his first-choice option between the sticks but left the door open for both players to stake their claim.

"If you look at what we've got over the next six weeks, it's an incredible schedule, so I'm in no rush to name a number one or number two," he said.

"I thought Kepa did really well [against Crystal Palace]. He made a couple of big saves but also his distribution, in terms of his decision-making, was really strong.

"You need players to step up and perform and Kepa did that. I am really happy for him and he's played a big part in helping us record a strong three points."

"I want to get Edouard fit and ready to play and then we have two goalkeepers and in an ideal world, you let football decide. We've got two ones we trust and that's a good situation for us."

Chelsea sit rock-bottom of their Champions League group after the first two games, losing to Dinamo Zagreb in Thomas Tuchel's final game in charge, before being held to a 1-1 draw by RB Salzburg in Potter's first game at the helm.

That raises the importance of Wednesday's clash against Serie A champions Milan, but Potter is excited about the tough test that the Italian outfit present.

"They're a top team, as were Salzburg in terms of how competitive they were. Every game is different. It's a massive challenge for us and an exciting challenge for us," he added.

"We'll try for three points. It's important to win, but we're playing against a top opponent so we have to play well and create a good atmosphere. We're looking forward to it."

Kepa Arrizabalaga has vowed to seize the chance of a "fresh start" at Chelsea after the appointment of Graham Potter.

The Spanish goalkeeper was dislodged as Chelsea's first choice by Edouard Mendy when the Senegal international joined from Rennes in September 2020, and he has played a bit-part in the first team ever since.

Kepa played just 15 games last season, including two appearances as a substitute, but posted an impressive save percentage of 80.8, with Mendy managing just 70.8 per cent in his 49 games.

Mendy began this season as Thomas Tuchel's preferred choice between the sticks, but the sacking of the German head coach and subsequent appointment of Potter may mean there is a clean slate.

Now Kepa is hoping there is a chance for him to assert himself as a contender to keep the jersey, after playing in back-to-back Champions League games due to Mendy being injured.

"Last season, when I played I felt really well, but it was just 15 games or something like this," Kepa said, quoted on Chelsea's website. "It's not a big amount, so now when I have the opportunity, I try to do my best and to help the team like I do in the last games.

"I'm happy with my performances and happy again to enjoy the Champions League games on the pitch, so it's a fresh start, and I'm happy, and I will take it."

Chelsea have begun their European campaign with a 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb, followed by a home 1-1 draw with Salzburg in Potter's first game, so results could be better.

The Salzburg result on Wednesday was a blow, given Chelsea led their Austrian visitors but were pegged back by a Noah Okafor equaliser.

"There is frustration a little bit because we drew when we needed these points," Kepa said, "but we are improving, and it's just the beginning."

The arrival of Potter from Brighton and Hove Albion has come at a time when Chelsea's Premier League campaign has been put on hold, with fixtures against Fulham and Liverpool postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

It means the head coach must wait for his first league game at the helm, which should come at Crystal Palace on October 1. In the meantime, Potter is working behind the scenes on trying to lift the team.

Kepa said: "He is very positive in his mind, and he tries to give us this positivity. It's been two or three training sessions with the new manager, so it's just the beginning, but it's been a positive beginning and a good point to start."

Timo Werner has only managed 23 goals in his first two seasons with Chelsea after joining from Leipzig in mid-2020.

The new Blues owners are open to allowing Werner, who signed on a five-year contract, to depart on loan.

The 26-year-old scored 95 goals in 159 appearances with Leipzig from 2016 to 2020.


Leipzig are leading the race to sign Chelsea striker Werner ahead of Juventus, claims Fabrizio Romano.

The Bundesliga club met with Chelsea on Sunday, proposing a swap deal for Werner, who is Leipzig's main target.

Juventus and Newcastle United have also shown an interest in the Germany international. 


Barcelona are considering a move for Leipzig defender Angelino should they miss out on Chelsea full-back Marcos Alonso, claims Diario Sport.

Everton could make a move for forgotten Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi, according to talkSPORT. The Toffees lost Richarlison to Tottenham last month and will turn to Batshuayi, who scored 14 goals on loan at Besiktas last season.

– Portuguese forward Diogo Jota is set to be rewarded for his strong second season at Anfield, with Liverpool to offer him a lucrative pay rise as part of a new deal, despite having three years to run on his contract, claims The Telegraph.

Napoli and Chelsea are in talks on a loan deal for Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, according to Sky Sports.

– Football Insider reports that Leicester City have informed Newcastle that midfielder James Maddison will cost them £60million as they circle for his signature.

– Leicester City are set to farewell goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel,  who is on the cusp of joining French Ligue 1 club Nice, reports the Mail.

The revolving door at Stamford Bridge could face a potential slow down with the growing wage disparity between the Premier League and the rest of Europe's top five leagues.

Premier League clubs dominate lists of the highest wage spenders in European football and since Roman Abramovich's takeover, Chelsea have long been a prominent figure in that regard.

In a changing marketplace, however, moving players this season has become a trickier task.



Chelsea are struggling to move Timo Werner and Kepa Arrizabalaga among other players due to wage demands, according to The Telegraph.

The Blues are also finding it tricky to move Michy Batshuayi and Ross Barkley, despite the club's desire to accommodate potential signings.

Werner has seen the Blues search for attackers this off-season and could potentially be joining Romelu Lukaku out the door, while Kepa has notably been Edouard Mendy's understudy.

Finding a suitable club for the two has the potential to be difficult, however, with both being brought in on lucrative wages.



– Barcelona will make a final attempt to sign Sevilla's Jules Kounde amid likelier interest from Chelsea, Sport is reporting.

Manchester City have had a £30million bid for Marc Cucurella rejected by Brighton and Hove Albion, who value him around £50m, according to The Athletic.

Paris Saint-Germain are looking to offload Georginio Wijnaldum and Roma have emerged as a potential destination for the Netherlands midfielder, Corriere dello Sport reports.

– Juventus are considering the termination of Aaron Ramsey's contract in an attempt to cut heavy wage spending, per Fabrizio Romano.

Kepa Arrizabalaga says he will head into discussions with Thomas Tuchel over his Chelsea future with the "clear message that I want to play more".

Chelsea splashed a world-record fee for a goalkeeper when they signed Kepa from Athletic Bilbao for £71.6m on a seven-year contract in 2018 as a replacement for the outbound Thibaut Courtois.

Edouard Mendy arrived at Stamford Bridge two years later, joining on a five-year deal from Rennes to provide competition to Kepa, who played more than 30 Premier League games in each of his first two seasons.

Mendy then emerged as Tuchel's first-choice goalkeeper, with Kepa limited to just seven Premier League appearances in the 2020-21 season and only four the following league campaign.

The Spain international was utilised in cup competitions by Chelsea, missing a penalty in the EFL Cup final loss to Liverpool after being brought on in extra time for the shoot-out.

Kepa does not want to settle for being a backup option, though, and told Marca he will hold conversations with Tuchel over his future.

"I'm excited, ambitious, eager to start, to enjoy myself and, above all, to play more. I want to be on the pitch more," the 27-year-old said.

"The conversation with him [Tuchel] is easy; on a day-to-day basis, he is totally accessible to the players. Personally, I notice the affection and confidence he has in me.

"Obviously, I want to play more. It's true that he's giving another teammate [Mendy] a lift, and that's what I'm trying to change in my day-to-day life; I want to play, and that's what I'm training and preparing for.

"Right now, I'm a Chelsea player, but what I know is that I want to play more because, after a year or two where, when I have played, I have had a great return.

"I'm not desperate. At the end of the day, I'm at a very big club… I'll talk to the coach, and we'll decide, but with a clear message that I want to play more."

Thomas Tuchel remains hopeful Mateo Kovacic can recover from injury to feature in the FA Cup final against Liverpool, where the German promised Chelsea will give their opponents a "hard fight".

Kovacic suffered an ankle injury following a lunging tackle that saw Dan James dismissed in Chelsea's 3-0 Premier League win over Leeds United on Wednesday.

Tuchel, speaking after the game, expressed his concerns over a "major injury" to the Croatia international on an otherwise "close to perfect evening".

However, Chelsea manager Tuchel provided a positive update on Kovacic as he revealed the midfielder had been given the green light to train by the medical team.

"We will try it today, which is pretty surprising news where we can even try it but Mateo wants to and the medical department gave the green light," he told reporters at a pre-match news conference on Friday.

"The advantage is there is no new injury, the ligament was already torn from the last injury, but heavy pain, heavily swollen.

"So we're hoping that maybe time is enough that he makes it, we will try it in two-and-a-half hours in training and see. In the game [at Leeds], he was very, very good, in general, he has stepped up.

"The qualities of him and the personality, his dribbling and driving with the ball is excellent and he's a top team player.

"He played many years for Real Madrid so knows what it takes to put the ego aside and serve the team.

"We have missed him too much this season, with injuries over the season, and he is now so ambitious before the FA Cup final because he was excellent against Liverpool recently."

Tuchel also hopes to have N'Golo Kante back after the France international has missed the last three games, last featuring against Manchester United on April 28.

"It was a reduced training session because of a long journey and fatigue of travelling. We will also try today with him. He is keen to make it and hopefully he makes it to training 100 per cent," the German said of Kante.

Saturday will be just the second time the same two sides will contest both the EFL Cup and FA Cup final in the same campaign.


Jurgen Klopp's Reds were penalty shoot-out victors back in February and all three games in 90 minutes have finished level between the two teams this season.

The last fixture between two English top-flight sides to see more stalemates in the same campaign was Arsenal versus Chelsea in 2017-18 (4), and Tuchel expects the final to follow a similar pattern.

"It started with last season's game at Anfield, this season's draw at Anfield, a draw at Stamford Bridge, and then over 120 minutes and the penalties [in the EFL Cup final]," he added.

"I don't expect crazy new things from them and also not from us."

Chelsea are the first side to reach three consecutive FA Cup finals since Arsenal between 2000-01 and 2002-03.

However, after losing in both 2019-20 (v Arsenal) and 2020-21 (v Leicester City), they are looking to avoid three such final defeats since Newcastle United in 1998-99 and Tuchel believes an element of luck will be required.

"It's a big achievement to be in the finals and there has to be a loser in these finals," he said. "There is a special momentum you have to catch and a bit of luck.

"The atmosphere is right and the momentum is okay after the reaction at Leeds and everyone knows what we're up to. We want to arrive to give Liverpool a hard fight."

As for whether Kepa Arrizabalaga, who missed the decisive spot-kick in the EFL Cup final after being substituted on specifically for penalties, will be utilised in extra time again, Tuchel insists he has a plan.

"It's never done before and it's not done now. We have a plan for it. What we can do in terms of practising, I'm a bit torn about how much you can practice it," Tuchel continued.

"My players shoot a lot of penalties on a daily basis through the season, which in my opinion is good to have a certain routine for the players.

"But to shoot tomorrow after 120 minutes of intense fight and in a full stadium, it's a different story."

New investment at Milan could see the Italian powerhouse target the best players across Europe's top clubs.

Milan have entered into exclusive talks with Bahrain-based asset manager Investcorp over a takeover.

The Rossoneri have been linked with Real Madrid's Marco Asensio and Isco and Liverpool's Divock Origi already.


Milan are monitoring Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The England international is among a list of players that Milan would like to sign amid a reported lucrative takeover by a Bahrain-based organisation.

Sterling's current contract with City expires in 2023, but the Daily Mail claims he would turn down the Italian move.



 Christian Eriksen is gaining interest from former employers Tottenham after a good run of form, although his agent is set to meet with Brentford at the end of this season to formalise his future, claims Fabrizio Romano.

– Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel and goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga will hold talks at the end of this season to discuss his future having struggled for opportunities, reports Football.London.

– Jose Mourinho's Roma will open talks with Nemanja Matic's representatives as the Serbian midfielder prepares to leave Manchester United, reports Nicolo Schira.

– Manchester Evening News claims Manchester United have revived their interest in Villarreal defender Pau Torres.

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