Kepa Arrizabalaga described himself as ‘a calm, settled goalkeeper’ but predicted that he would fit into Maurizio Sarri’s ‘aggressive’ style of football at Chelsea.
The 23-year-old became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he completed a £71.6 million transfer from Athletic Bilbao and he expressed his excitement about working with Sarri, who arrived at the club from Napoli in July.
Sarri guided Napoli to second place in Serie A in 2017-18 and earned plaudits across Europe for his attractive brand of football, and Kepa said he was keen to start working with the Italian coach.
‘I’m really looking forward to starting to work with [Sarri],’ Kepa told the official Chelsea app, The 5th Stand.
‘I’ve heard great things about him, great references. I can’t wait to see that first hand, to meet him and work with him.
‘I think his style is not too different from the style used in the Spanish national team. I believe my qualities will fit in well with this style. I personally like his style. It’s aggressive, he likes to attack, putting pressure on the opposition and I like that.
‘I would say that I am a calm, settled goalkeeper. I think I try to convey a calmness to the team, so they feel they have behind them a goalkeeper that is in control.’
Kepa said he had spoken with Chelsea’s Spanish contingent of players before joining the club and was given glowing reports about life at Stamford Bridge.
Having been a regular in the Spain Under-21s team over the last three years, as well as earning a cap for the national team in a friendly against Costa Rica in November 2017, Kepa said he had plenty of friends at Chelsea.
‘I know all the Spanish players that I have played with at the various age groups for Spain,’ he said.
‘I have spoken to various players before I came here; [Cesar] Azpilicueta, [Alvaro] Morata [and] Pedro.
‘I had excellent references from them about the club, knowing them and being able to talk to them.’
He added that the decision to leave Bilbao, where he spent seven years emerging from the club’s youth ranks, was not an easy one to make.
‘It’s been a very important decision for me,’ he said. ‘A tough decision for me, for my personal life.
‘What attracted me to Chelsea? Everything, all the titles the club has won, all the players at the club, the city, the English Premier League.
‘It is an accumulation of things really and I am delighted that the club has signed me.’