Atlético Madrid's Jan Oblak will start between the sticks in his side's Champions League clash against Chelsea on Tuesday night.
The Slovenian has cemented his status as one of the best goalkeepers in the world in recent years, with over 286 appearances for Diego Simeone's side since his switch to Los Rojiblancos in 2014.
However, according to Goal, it could've turned out very differently for the 28-year-old after it has emerged that Chelsea wanted to bring him to Stamford Bridge on two separate occasions during the past three years, but failed in their pursuit of the shot-stopper both times.
In the summer of 2018, Chelsea had identified Oblak, along with Alisson Becker, as a potential option to replace Thibaut Courtois, who was nearing a move to Real Madrid.
The Belgian keeper soon sealed a move to Madrid while Liverpool won the race to sign Alisson from AS Roma. Chelsea, however, failed in their efforts to land Oblak with Atlético not willing to let their star man leave for a fee less than his release clause [£87 million].
The west Londoners then turned to Kepa Arrizabalaga, whose market value was pronounced at £71 million, and signed the Spaniard on a seven-year deal. It is fair to say that the 26-year-old has struggled for form and confidence since arriving at Stamford Bridge for a world-record fee in his position.
Since his move to Chelsea, Kepa has been in and out of the side and his calamitous displays between the sticks during the previous two campaigns forced the Blues to enter the transfer market in search of a reliable man in goal.
The possibility of signing Oblak, who had recently signed a fresh deal at the Wanda Metropolitano, re-emerged in the summer of 2020, however, history repeated itself as Chelsea failed to match Atlético's £104 million valuation of their goalkeeper, owing partly to the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edouard Mendy was soon brought in as a short-term, reliable fix from Rennes for a fee in the region of £22 million. The Senegalese has displayed consistency in goal this season, though Thomas Tuchel has appeared to give Arrizabalaga a clean slate following his appointment as Chelsea manager in January 2021.
Oblak has been recently linked with a move away from the La Liga, with some of Europe's elite clubs vying for his signature.
However, his agent refused to comment on his client's future in Madrid ahead of the first-leg of Atlético's crucial Round of 16 Champions League tie against Chelsea.
"Now is not the time to speak about transfers. Chelsea versus Atlético is an important game," said Miha Mlakar [Oblak's agent], as quoted by Goal.