(Reuters) – Chelsea’s Spanish contingent played a big role in convincing goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to join the side and the 23-year-old believes they can help him ease into life in the Premier League.
Arrizabalaga arrived at the club for a world record fee for a goalkeeper of 80 million euros (71.89 million pounds) from Spanish side Athletic Bilbao as a replacement for Thibaut Courtois, who joined Real Madrid this week.
“I know some players in the current team from the Spanish national side. All of them have told me what it’s like to play here and I have had excellent references from them about the game here,” Arrizabalaga told the club website https://www.chelseafc.com/en/news/2018/8/9/kepa—really-happy-to-be-here.
Arrizabalaga has five compatriots in the Chelsea squad in Cesar Azpilicueta, Alvaro Morata, Marcos Alonso, Pedro and Cesc Fabregas.
“They’re all happy, comfortable at the club and encouraged me to make the move and have an international experience, and it’s something I felt like doing,” Arrizabalaga added.
Arrizabalaga is likely to make his debut in Chelsea’s league opener at Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)