MX23RW : Thursday, March 21 10:42:19

Maurizio Sarri: 'Kepa Arrizabalaga not better than Thibaut Courtois'

Sarri: 'Kepa not better than Courtois'
© Reuters
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri admits that new signing Kepa Arrizabalaga is not yet at the same level as his predecessor Thibaut Courtois, despite joining for a record fee.

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has admitted that new signing Kepa Arrizabalaga is not yet at the level of his predecessor Thibaut Courtois.

Courtois joined Real Madrid yesterday in a £35m deal which also saw Mateo Kovacic move in the opposite direction on loan, while Chelsea spent a world-record sum on Kepa as the Belgian's replacement.

The Spaniard has put pen to paper on a seven-year deal at Stamford Bridge, but Sarri acknowledged that the 23-year-old still has work to do if he is to live up to the standards set by Courtois.

"I'm very happy for both. The Courtois situation was clear. He wanted to go to Madrid, so we lost maybe one of the most important goalkeepers in the world now," Sarri told reporters.

"We bought a young goalkeeper, I think one of the most important amongst the young goalkeepers in Europe. I'm really happy. I'm really happy with Kovacic. He has the characteristics for us. I'm really very happy and I think now the squad is complete. Kovacic is a very technical player. He's able to play between the lines of the opponent. For us it could be very important."

When asked whether Kepa can be better than Courtois, Sarri added: "Not at the moment, for sure. He's very young, 23. I hope he can improve very fast. For the moment he's not Courtois, for sure."

Both Kepa and Kovacic could make their Chelsea debuts during their Premier League opener against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.


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Maurizio Sarri watches on during the pre-season friendly between Chelsea and Arsenal on August 1, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

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