Kepa is the front page of Thursday’s Marca, or he at least shares the honour with Alvaro Morata.
The Athletic Club Bilbao goalkeeper has a contract ending in June, and that’s peaked interested from Real Madrid who see him as competition for Keylor Navas and someone who can then go on to replace the current stopper.
Kepa, currently away on Spain duty, isn’t getting much closer to renewing. Although Athletic have agreed to bring a buyout clause in any new contract down from the initially proposed €100m to €75m, wages are causing an issue.
The 23 year old’s representatives are to hold further meetings, and all hope isn’t lost, but Madrid aren’t the only club keen. Marca state ‘Two great players from Europe, Juventus and Arsenal, have made it known through unofficial intermediaries’ their desire to sign the player.
There’s some Spanish pride in Arsenal seeing Kepa as a potential replacement for Petr Cech, and Juve feeling the same about the youngster and Gigi Buffon. Few in the European media are truly convinced former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny is really going to get the Turin nod.
Real Madrid have the lead, say Marca, and they’re willing to pay Athletic for what would otherwise be a free transfer. Kepa’s release clause right now is €20m and Madrid would pay that amount rather than go into a war with the Basque club.
That may sound unnecessary, but if they really want Kepa, and don’t want the Bilbao club playing every trick in the book, including putting huge mental pressure on the player about his Basque duties and reputation in the area, then the €20m may not seem like such a high amount.
Arsenal and Juventus could feel differently, but Arsene Wenger, if his interest is genuine, should probably also find a way of doing a deal as amicably as possible.