Chelsea have agreed to pay a world record €80million (£71.6m) to replace Thibaut Courtois with Athletic Bilbao’s goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
With Courtois trying to force a move to Real Madrid by going AWOL, Chelsea have taken drastic action by paying Kepa’s Athletic Bilbao buy-out clause ahead of Thursday’s Premier League transfer deadline.
The deal, which has been greeted by widespread astonishment, will also shatter Chelsea’s record that had stood at £57m for striker Alvaro Morata, who joined from Real last summer.
The path of Courtois to Real is set to be further smoothed by the Liga club’s willingness to send midfielder Mateo Kovacic on a season-long loan to the Stamford Bridge outfit.
Along with Kepa, Kovacic is expected in London to complete a pre-deadline switch to the blues in what constitutes a frantic end to the transfer window.
Spanish sources claim 23-year-old Kepa will fly to England at around 10 am on Wednesday morning, having traveled to Madrid on Tuesday in preparation for his switch.
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