Chelsea legend and BBC pundit Pat Nevin has defended Kepa Arrizabalaga in the face of intense criticism of his performances last season.
Speaking to West London Sport, Nevin claimed the reaction to his displays has been ‘harsh’.
Kepa came under pressure during 2019/20 and Sky Sports reported last week that Frank Lampard is close to signing a new goalkeeper in the shape of Edouard Mendy from Rennes.
“My view of it is slightly different to a lot of Chelsea fans. Kepa has done OK. He has made a couple of mistakes and Chelsea have let in a lot of goals, but that is much more to do with the defence than the keeper,” said Nevin.
“A lot of people have blamed the goalkeeper but I think that is a bit harsh. Comparing him to the two keepers before him in Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois is harsh because they are the best in the business.
“He has made mistakes, and you can’t pretend otherwise, but everyone has got on his back.
“I think the bigger deal is what has been in front of him. Clarify and sort that and he could be there for 10 years.”
Nevin is clearly keen to cut through the narrative which has started to build around Kepa.
Chelsea’s goalkeeping situation is a tricky one. They shot themselves in the foot in 2018, delaying Thibaut Courtois’ exit to Real Madrid until so late on in the transfer window.
That gave them precious little time to source a replacement. They had to go for one who had a release clause they could trigger and Kepa fit the bill.
He’s a young goalkeeper who will improve plenty but what we saw last season was perhaps the natural consequence of that big-money, ill thought-out transfer.
Mendy may well prove to be an upgrade but seems unlikely he will have a transformative impact in the same way Alisson or Ederson have.
The idea that Kepa could still be Chelsea’s goalkeeper in ten years’ time may fill some fans with dread right now.
What Nevin is trying to say is that the Spaniard isn’t a lost cause. We’ll see if Frank Lampard agrees in the coming weeks and months.