Reports: Real Madrid closing in on Keylor Navas replacement
What's the story?
Real Madrid are desperately looking for a keeper and were interested in Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois. However, it looks like Madrid have now moved on from their pursuit of the Belgian keeper, at least according to reports.
According to Marca, the Spanish giants are now ready to activate the €20m release clause of Athletic Bilbao's keeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga.
In case you didn't know...
Kepa has a contract with Bilbao that runs out this summer. With the World Cup this year, the 23-year-old wants to move in search of more game time.
Madrid were also looking at Manchester United's David De Gea as an option and were close to securing his services twice before the deal fell through.
As things stand, Madrid will have to pay the release clause of the player to sign him. There will be no talks between both the clubs and Athletic's President, Urrutia, has made it clear.
The heart of the matter
The La Liga giants have been pursuing Courtois for quite some time now. At one point, it even looked like the Blues keeper wanted to leave as he has his family back in Spain.
But now, it looks like Madrid have given up their interest after not being able to move forward in their pursuit. This will come as a big relief to Antonio Conte and the fans.
However, Madrid were reluctant to pay the full release clause and wanted to negotiate but Bilbao has no plans as such. They made it very clear to the Spanish giants that they were not interested in negotiating.
Real have now decided to cough up the €20m release clause and sign the player up this month. They have decided not to wait until he becomes a free agent in the summer as they want Keylor Navas to have competition for the no. 1 spot in the team.
With Kepa joining Madrid, it will be a win-win situation for both the parties. Madrid have been looking for a keeper for a long time now and that will end with the 23-year-old's arrival.
Meanwhile, Kepa was not getting enough game time and with a move to Madrid, he can fight for a place which could revive his chance of playing at the World Cup.
This will also come as happy news to the managers of both Manchester United and Chelsea. They can rest knowing that there would be no more interference by Madrid for their keepers.