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Real Madrid 'draw up three-man shortlist of Kepa Arrizabalaga replacements'

Real Madrid 'draw up three-man shortlist of Kepa replacements'
© Reuters
Real Madrid apparently shortlist three potential goalkeeper signings if they fail to make Kepa Arrizabalaga's loan from Chelsea permanent next summer.

Real Madrid have apparently shortlisted three potential goalkeeper signings if they fail to make Kepa Arrizabalaga's loan from Chelsea permanent next summer.

Carlo Ancelotti's men were forced into the goalkeeping market over the summer following a crushing ACL injury to Thibaut Courtois, who is expected to miss most of the season.

Despite interest from Bayern Munich, Kepa jumped at the chance to don the famous white strip for Real Madrid, returning to La Liga on a straight loan deal in the middle of August.

The world's most expensive shot-stopper has made a relatively positive start to life at Bernabeu, playing 13 times across La Liga and the Champions League and keeping six clean sheets in the process.

As per the terms of Real's agreement with Chelsea, Kepa's deal does not include an option or obligation to buy, but the Spaniard is known to be keen on a permanent stay in the Spanish capital.

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga on August 3, 2023© Reuters

Kepa is not believed to have a future with Chelsea, but the Blues still have him under contract until 2025, meaning Real must negotiate a fee with their West London counterparts if they are to keep the former Athletic Bilbao man around.

According to Relevo - via Football Espana - Ancelotti is in favour of the idea of a permanent deal for Kepa, whom he views as an ideal backup to Courtois when the Belgian has made a full recovery.

Kepa has battled with Andriy Lunin for the gloves since returning to his homeland, but even if the former is not signed on a permanent deal, Real are allegedly happy to let Lunin leave in search of regular first-team football.

Should Los Blancos wave goodbye to both men permanently at the end of the summer, club chiefs have supposedly identified three names to replace the pair, including Valencia's Giorgi Mamardashvili.

The 23-year-old Georgia international has earned admirers across Europe with his displays for Los Che, keeping 23 clean sheets in 79 games for the club, but his long-running contract until 2027 could prove to be an issue.

Georgia's Giorgi Mamardashvili reacts with Guram Kashia and Giorgi Gocholeishvili on March 28, 2023© Reuters

A more experienced option could arrive in the shape of 31-year-old Braga goalkeeper Matheus, who has been the number one for the Portuguese side since arriving from America Mineiro in 2014.

Matheus has 101 clean sheets to show from 315 matches in a Braga jersey, but like Mamardashvili, the Brazilian is not due to become a free agent for another four years either.

The final name on Real's shot-stopping shortlist is Randall Rodriguez, a 20-year-old Uruguayan goalkeeper who plies his trade with Penarol in his homeland and only has a contract with his current club until next December.

Rodriguez stands at 6ft 2in tall and shone during Uruguay's run to Under-20 World Cup glory this year, keeping five successive clean sheets as his nation defeated Italy 1-0 in the final.

Since sustaining an adductor injury last month, Kepa has lost his place in the Real XI to Lunin and was named on the bench for the second La Liga game running on Saturday, where Los Blancos played out a 1-1 draw with Real Betis.

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