Atletico v Chelsea: Simeone previews tie
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The error of judgement that saw Chelsea miss out on Jan Oblak has come to light as the two sides prepare to face each other in the Champions League. The Atletico Madrid keeper was at the top of the Blues’ target list in the summer of 2018, but they instead brought in Kepa.
The decision to pay out a record-breaking fee for Kepa has proved to be disastrous, with the Spaniard making a catalogue of errors.
Thse errors saw the Stamford Bridge side sign Edouard Mendy last September for £22million, with the Frenchman now the first-choice keeper.
Mendy’s form means that Kepa is now surplus to requirements, with Chelsea believed to be keen to sell the 26-year-old.
Though new manager Thomas Tuchel has opened the door to a return for Kepa, Chelsea fans will be forgiven for dreaming of what might have been had negotiations gone differently two and half years ago.
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That is because, for the sake of £16m more, Oblak could have been lining up for the away side at Wanda Metropolitano tonight.
Goal report that was how much more Atletico were demanding from Chelsea for the signing of the Slovenian shotstopper.
With Thibaut Courtois heading for Real Madrid, the Blues were searching for a new man to become their number one.
Though they first eyed Allison, Chelsea quickly turned their attention to Oblak, who is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
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During that summer, Oblak had an £87m release clause in his contract, with Diego Simeone refusing to accept anything less than that price.
Chelsea though were unwilling to splash that much on a keeper and decided to instead seek an alternative.
That alternative was Kepa, who himself had a sizeable release clause in his contract at Athletic Bilbao of £71m.
But the Blues decided that that fee was one they would be willing to pay and so Kepa, not Oblak, arrived at Stamford Bridge.
The decision to not part with an extra £16m proved to be a stunning error of judgement from Chelsea’s hierarchy.
Since arriving in the Premier League, Kepa has conceded 92 goals in the Premier League, by comparison Oblak has allowed in 70 goals in La Liga and has also kept 25 more clean sheets.
It is also reasonable to assume that had Oblak been the keeper that Chelsea signed as Courtois’ replacement, they would not have spent more than £20m on Mendy.
Oblak has been key as Atletico have stormed to the top of La Liga, and signed a new deal that saw his release clause rise to £104m. Kepa meanwhile is heading for the Stamford Bridge exit door.
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