Athletic Bilbao could be set to lose star player Kepa Arrizabalaga, as Real Madrid lead a three-horse race for the contract rebel.

By 90Min
November 09, 2017

Athletic Bilbao could be set to lose star player Kepa Arrizabalaga, as Real Madrid lead a three-horse race for the contract rebel.

Arrizabalaga's future with his current club is up in the air with no improved deal being forthcoming, and Marca has reported that Los Blancos could swoop for him as a result.

Arrizabalaga would be free to talk to foreign clubs in January as his contract enters its last six months but Real, who have been linked with the 23-year-old over the past few months, will hope that their mooted interest will keep the shot stopper in Spain's top flight.

The agency behind the rumoured contract talks  - Bahia Internacional - represents both Arrizabgala and Athletic, and had tried to get the two parties to sit down and thrash out a deal to keep him in the Basque region.

Those discussions are believed to be some distance apart due to the salary demands that Arrizabalaga is requesting - a factor that Athletic have so far refused to bow to.

Bilbao have agreed to drop their star's release clause fee from €100m to €75m to try and keep him peachy but Arrizabalaga and his advisers are still holding out for a decent wage increase.

That has alerted Real to his potential availability, and club president Florentino Perez is rumoured to be willing to fork over €20m to sign the Ondarroa-born footballer in January to keep him out of the clutches of other clubs.

Premier League side Arsenal and Serie A giants Juventus are also thought to be monitoring Kepa's situation at San Mames Stadium, and could strike up a conversation about signing him at the turn of the year.

Both clubs will need to replace veteran keepers Petr Cech and Gianluigi Buffon in the near future, and Arrizabalaga would be the right age to come in as their long-term replacements.

Kepa has made 34 appearances since making his senior Athletic bow in September 2016 and recently received his fifth call up to the senior Spanish national side for the November international break.



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