The Stats That Prove Chelsea’s £71m Signing Is A Steal

By timgarrett IN Premier League,Transfers - 12:15 Aug 8th 2018

This summer’s transfer deadline was always likely to be a stressful one for Chelsea, with star players wanting away and new boss Maurizio Sarri desperate to make an impact, and, as the hours tick away, it is truly living up to expectations.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’ refusal to report back for pre-season training has somewhat forced the club’s hand. He will surely be leaving for Real Madrid in the coming days. Swift action from the Chelsea hierarchy, however, has minimised the disruption caused.

Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga is one of European football’s hottest properties in his position, with Madrid themselves coming incredibly close to recruiting him in January. That deal didn’t materialise, but a world record move to Chelsea now seems to be imminent with his £71m release clause having been met.

Those that have watched him since he broke into the Bilbao first time have raved about his ability, but do the stats back up their view?

Kepa
CLUB Athletic BilbaoAGE 23Y 10M
POS GLKHEIGHT 5FT 11IN
2016/17
WITH
WITHOUT
Matches
23
15
Win %
61%
33%
Draw %
13%
20%
Loss %
26%
47%
Avg Goal for
1.6
1.1
Avg Goals against
1
1.4
Mins per goal for
57.5
79.4
Mins per goal against
94.1
64.3
Shots for per game
10.2
9.7
Points per game
2
1.2
Clean sheets
8
2
TOTAL
11

Kepa made 23 appearances for Bilbao during their 2016/17 La Liga campaign, and the upturn in their fortunes with the then 21-year-old in goal was quite remarkable.

His prowess ensured that average goals against per game dropped from 1.4 to 1.0 and, in the process, the side’s win ratio shot up from 33% to a massive 61%. Few goalkeepers are capable of making such an impact as such a young age.

Kepa
CLUB Athletic BilbaoAGE 23Y 10M
POS GLKHEIGHT 5FT 11IN
2017/18
WITH
WITHOUT
Matches
31
7
Win %
23%
43%
Draw %
29%
57%
Loss %
48%
Avg Goal for
1
1.4
Avg Goals against
1.5
0.6
Mins per goal for
90
63
Mins per goal against
62
157.5
Shots for per game
9
8.4
Points per game
1
1.9
Clean sheets
7
4
TOTAL
5
6

Last season was not such plain sailing for Kepa, however. He appeared in 31 La Liga outings this time around, but the side actually performed slightly better when he wasn’t there.

He kept just 7 clean sheets in 31 games, which undoubtedly contributed to a win ratio of just 23%, and, while the former Basconia man cannot take all of the blame for that, higher levels will still be expected from him at Stamford Bridge.

At £71m, there is inevitably a level of risk attached to this deal. It’s a huge investment in a player with relatively little experience at the highest level.

The talent of the boy cannot be doubted, however. He has firmly cemented his place behind David de Gea as Spain’s no. 2 and has attracted the interest of virtually every big club in Europe at one point during his fledgeling career.

While Chelsea will be loathed to lose Courtois, this will be a statement signing that could prove incredibly astute in the passage of time.

The Acca Smacker

For fans across the continent, the excitement is building. A new season is here and optimism is rife. Will new signings stun? Will titles be won? Everyone hopes, but nobody knows. Domestic football’s back, and we could be happier.

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