With Thibaut Courtois eventually getting his way and heading to Real Madrid to be closer to his family, Chelsea were in dire need of a new first-team goalkeeper.
An attempt to buy Jan Oblak from Atlético Madrid is said to have failed, and the club eventually settled on triggering the €80m release clause in Kepa’s contract at Athletic Bilbao.
However, Chelsea could have looked at other, perhaps less expensive, avenues, like Paris Saint-Germain’s Alphonse Aréola.
Gianluigi Buffon’s arrival in the French capital put the France number three’s future as starter in doubt, but Thomas Tuchel wanted the 24-year-old to stick around, and the Blues never really seemed to look at that particular option concretely.
Had they done so and handed PSG a hefty enough cheque, convincing Aréola to join would have been a piece of cake, since he was already willing to make the switch.
This is what Christophe Lollichon told Le Figaro on Friday: “We spoke a lot the two of us. Rather argumentatively. He wanted to come here, but the final decision wasn’t mine. It would have been a pleasure to work with him.”
Replacing the injured Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda for France on Thursday night, Aréola showed the world why he’s still highly rated at his club by keeping Germany at bay with a handful of good saves.