The Spain international was among the big-names to head through the exit door during the summer transfer window, which saw the Blues recoup close to £230million as head coach Mauricio Pochettino used the cash to strengthen his squad.
The Italian journalist suggests the goalkeeper, who has entered the final two years of his £150,000-per-week contract at Stamford Bridge, is dreaming of remaining with Real Madrid beyond the end of the current campaign and will look for an alternative exit route if the La Liga giants opt against attempting to reach a long-term agreement with his parent club.
Kepa headed to the Bernabeu on a season-long loan last month after he was identified as an ideal replacement for former Chelsea No.1 Thibaut Courtois, who is facing an extensive period on the sidelines with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Although it is understood that the deal between Real Madrid and Chelsea does not include an option to make the switch permanent next summer, the 28-year-old made his intentions of not returning to west London clear within hours of heading back to his homeland.
Kepa has chalked up 59 clean sheets over the course of 163 appearances for the Blues, while he has started his loan side’s last two fixtures.
The former Athletic Bilbao man broke the world-record fee paid for a goalkeeper when he sealed a £71million move to Chelsea five years ago.
What has Ben Jacobs said about Kepa?
Jacobs believes Kepa has already made his final appearance in a Chelsea shirt as wanting to join Real Madrid and heading to Spain so quickly after an offer was put on the table showed his desperation to embark on the fresh challenge.
The respected journalist understands the shot-stopper had initially been on course to start the season between the sticks instead of new signing Robert Sanchez, but discussions over his future will be held at the end of his loan spell at the Bernabeu.
Jacobs told GIVEMESPORT:
“I do think it’s likely that Kepa will leave, simply because Chelsea have brought in another goalkeeper. They’ve got Gabriel Slonina, who will have developed in 12 months time even further, and Robert Sanchez is seen as the No.1 at the football club. Before the surprise move came about, Pochettino was genuinely considering both Kepa and Robert Sanchez. There was a very real possibility, if the Real move hadn’t come about after Thibaut Courtois’ injury, that Kepa would have started the first few games of the season because Robert Sanchez was still integrating at Chelsea. But now I think the fact that Kepa wanted that move, and left so quickly, has only shown Pochettino and Chelsea that it’s unlikely that he’ll return. If he does return, he won’t be the No.1 goalkeeper at the football club, which means that coming back will still require, in likelihood, a solution for him to leave. Chelsea can be relaxed about the situation because, contractually, Kepa is still at the football club until 2025. But I think that both club and player, at the end of the Real Madrid loan, will be looking for solutions away from Chelsea.”
Is Sanchez an upgrade on Kepa?
Chelsea forked out £25million, according to Sky Sports, to recruit Sanchez from Premier League rivals Brighton & Hove Albion just a matter of days before the new campaign got underway last month.
The 25-year-old headed to the capital with plenty of Premier League experience, having made 91 appearances in the competition during his time on the south coast, and that allowed his new employers to sanction Kepa’s loan move to Real Madrid.
Although Sanchez has made the No.1 jersey his own since arriving at Chelsea, failing to miss a single minute of action, he has already conceded six goals and kept just one clean sheet.
His performances have also led to criticism from some quarters as reputable journalist Paul Brown recently told GIVEMESPORT that the former Rochdale and Forest Green Rovers custodian did not look comfortable during his opening day debut against Liverpool.
Statistics highlight that Kepa was a safer pair of hands last season, when he was handed 39 outings, than Sanchez.