By 90Min
October 12, 2017

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has reportedly given his blessing to Los Blancos making Athletic Bilbao star Kepa Arrizabalaga their number one target to be new first choice goalkeeper next season, replacing the often unfairly criticised Keylor Navas.

Kepa established himself as Athletic Club's number one last September and has seen a monumental rise in his standing and profile over the last 12 months.

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According to Marca, the 23-year-old has become the 'priority objective' for Real in the transfer market this summer. Their success will, however, hinge on whether Kepa is able to resist the temptation of signing a new contract in Bilbao.

His current deal is due to expire at the end of the season, meaning Real could acquire him as a free agent in the summer. But Marca also points out that even a new contract wouldn't prohibit a possible deal, rather adding a €65m or €75m buyout clause into the equation.

Given Kepa's young age, it is suggested that Real feel they could 'forget' about the goalkeeping position for many years. That is reminiscent of Iker Casillas' long service as number one.

Were Kepa to make the move to the Bernabeu, Kiko Casilla would be the existing goalkeeper to make way, with the new arrival to compete with incumbent number one Navas. The Costa Rican would then likely leave the club on or shortly before the expiration of his contract in 2020.

Real have spent the last few summers doggedly trying to prise David de Gea away from Manchester United. They looked to have finally given up in June, while the interest in Kepa would suggest that De Gea is no longer seen as a target in Madrid.

Real were also linked with Italian teenage starlet Gianluigi Donnarumma prior to him signing a new contract with AC Milan in July.

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