Lampard eyes replacement for Kepa

Chelsea’s quest for Champions League qualification remained on-track after a 1-0 victory at home to Norwich.

This came courtesy of an Olivier Giroud header after a cross from emerging playmaker, Christian Pulisic.

While Giroud has risen from the shadows to become a trusted option at centre-forward, Frank Lampard still has doubts over his choices at the opposite end of the pitch. Kepa Arrizabalaga has come in for criticism from large sections of the Chelsea support.

Lampard dropped him in February after a series of below-par displays, raising doubts over the Spaniard. Is Lampard eyeing a replacement for the goalkeeper who cost the club £72m just two years ago?

Jan Oblak

The most high-profile goalkeeper Chelsea have been linked with is Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak.

Oblak
Oblak was incredible in the Champions League against Liverpool and essentially made the difference against the holders. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY SKY SPORTS.

The Slovenian has been consistently excellent for a number of seasons, with a save percentage of 80.7% across La Liga in his six seasons with Diego Simeone’s side.

With 104 clean sheets in 189 games, Oblak is highly regarded as one of Europe’s best however, his reported transfer fee of £90m is likely to be a stumbling block for a Chelsea board who may be unwilling to spend big money on another goalkeeper so soon after the deal to bring Arrizabalaga to Stamford Bridge.

Andre Onana

Another goalkeeper linked with a move to West London is Andre Onana. The 24-year-old caught the eye during Ajax’s sensational run to the Champions League semi-finals.

The Cameroonian’s agility and distribution were particularly impressive throughout the campaign. In six seasons with the Eredivisie club, Onana’s save percentage of 76.3% is almost as impressive as Oblak’s, while his transfer fee is likely to be significantly less than the fee reported for Atletico Madrid’s number one.

Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is reportedly ready to leave the club this summer. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY THE DAILY MAIL.

A £26m fee for the stopper has been touted, although a purchase of Onana would represent a risk for a goalkeeper who is not regarded as one of Europe’s best in the way Oblak is.

Dean Henderson

Manchester United’s Dean Henderson is also on the list of goalkeepers on Chelsea’s radar.

Whilst on loan at Sheffield United, Henderson has impressed with his shot-stopping and speed. Ranking third in terms of save percentage in the 2019/20 Premier League season at 76.9%, the young Englishman is surely the man the Red Devils are preparing to succeed David De Gea.

However, Henderson is likely to be unwilling to wait for an opportunity. With EURO 2020 now scheduled to take place in 2021, Henderson will be desperate to play first-team football.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – AUGUST 18: Dean Henderson of Sheffield United celebrates his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Crystal Palace at Bramall Lane on August 18, 2019 in Sheffield, United Kingdom. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY SHAUN BOTTERIL/GETTY IMAGES.

The England goalkeeping position is up for grabs and Henderson will look to secure this position ahead of EURO 2020. Like Onana, Henderson is not regarded as a top goalkeeper. However, his Premier League experience and an unquestionably good season for the Blades makes him a viable option.

Ugurcan Cakir

The wildcard on this list, the Trabzonspor stopper has been linked with both Chelsea and Liverpool in recent weeks. Cakir is relatively unknown in England, however his 78.5% save percentage in the Turkish Super Lig is an impressive statistic.

The underlying metrics when assessing Cakir are also highly favourable. In 32 league games, in which the Turk has played in all-but-one, Trabzonspor have conceded 37 goals.

However, their xGA (expected goals against) suggests that that number should be 56.64. Looking at this, we can see that Cakir has conceded 20 goals less than would be expected. This over-performance suggests that the recently-capped Turkey international is performing exceptionally, albeit in a weaker league.

He is the relative unknown of the goalkeepers Chelsea have been linked with. The underlying statistical metrics, however, indicate a goalkeeper who is destined for a top club.

Chelsea could look to Cakir as a cheaper alternative to either Oblak, Onana or Henderson.

What should Chelsea do?

Arrizabalaga’s underperformance is startling. He has saved only 56.5% of shots he has faced in this season’s Premier League.

The Spaniard has been the biggest transfer flop in the Premier League in the last two years. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY GOAL.

This is a damning 20% fewer than that of Arsenal’s Bernd Leno who is top of this list. Chelsea’s xGA is lower than their actual number of goals conceded by 4.5 (44.5 xGA v 49 actually conceded) which, once again, indicates at underperformance from their number one. The Spain goalkeeper needs to be replaced.

If a deal is financially viable, Chelsea should look to bring in the first name mentioned in this article, Jan Oblak. He represents the most reliable choice, bringing both experience and a reputation to be respected. However, Ugurcan Cakir could represent a bargain should Oblak be unattainable. The goalkeeping position is up for grabs at Stamford Bridge and Cakir could be an outsider, even if a huge risk.

In any case, Frank Lampard needs to convince the Chelsea hierarchy that Kepa Arrizabalaga is not the man he needs between the sticks if his side are to challenge for Premier League or Champions League success.

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