Thomas Tuchel admitted he “doesn’t know” how close Kepa Arrizabalaga is to becoming Chelsea’s number one goalkeeper again but he certainly didn’t slam the door on the chance.
Edouard Mendy is expected to resume his role in between the sticks on Saturday when the Blues head to the south coast to wake on Southampton in the lunchtime kick off as Tuchel targets a fifth straight Premier League win since taking over from Frank Lampard to add to his debut draw versus Wolves.
Mendy has been the undisputed number one since the last time Chelsea played Southampton earlier this season at Stamford Bridge when Kepa had a horror afternoon in a 3-3 draw in west London.
That was when Frank Lampard finally had enough and xed the Spaniard, replaced him with summer signing Mendy and he has been a Premier League and Champions League mainstay ever since.
The Blues are reluctant to give up on the world’s most expensive goalkeeper in Kepa, signed by Maurizio Sarri in 2018 for a record £71million from Athletic Bilbao on a seven-year contract, but with Lampard in charge there appeared to be no future for Kepa.
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However, the arrival of Tuchel has given everyone a clean slate and Kepa started against Newcastle on Monday night, keeping a clean sheet in the process as the Blues hit the top four just three weeks into Tuchel’s reign.
The head coach confirmed after that game that Mendy is the number one keeper and he did so again at his pre-Southampton press conference on Friday but he wasn’t ruling anything out for Kepa either.
“Nothing has changed. Edou is the number one and he deserves to be the number one,2 Tuchel said.
“It is a sensitive position where you need to be clear and you cannot hide. You cannot hide your opinion in press conferences or in the dressing room.
“Things have to be clear and you cannot be afraid of it and we are not….