What Thomas Tuchel has said about Kepa Arrizabalaga amid surprise Chelsea transfer exit links

The January transfer window is just around the corner and one Chelsea player who could be making a surprise departure from Stamford Bridge is goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Signed for £72 million in the summer of 2018, Kepa was touted as one of the world’s finest goalkeeping prospects, but a string of error-strewn performances eventually led Frank Lampard to bring in Edouard Mendy.

This season has seen the Spaniard become something of a cult hero at Stamford Bridge after helping the Blues to penalty victories in the UEFA Super Cup and twice in the Carabao Cup.

But it looks like his time in west London could be coming to an end sooner than expected.

Spanish outlet Diario Sport have reported that Lazio are eager to sign Kepa in the summer transfer window and bring about a reunion with former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri at the same time.

The prospect of regular first-team football may well prove too tempting for the 27-year-old, especially with opportunities under Thomas Tuchel set to remain limited while Mendy is still at the club.

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But Tuchel has been full of praise for the Spaniard and his professionalism, adding that he has been impressed by what he has done so far this season, on the pitch and in training.

“He (Kepa) is always pushing and is really an example of sportsmanship through and through. I have nothing but praise for him,” Tuchel said at a press conference back in October.

“He played good and did everything he is capable of producing.

“Every day he is in unbelievable spirit and does not take these decisions (to leave him out) personally and he does what it takes to be on his personal highest level.

“I am absolutely grateful to be his coach and he did very, very well. I am always very sure he will do well because of the way he is and the way he behaves and trains.

“Still, we of course have competition, and the decision is that unless something crazy happens that Edu starts – nothing has changed at the moment for him.”

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