Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is soon expected to clash with club officials over his wish to replace under-fire goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The Spaniard, who became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he sealed his £71.6m switch to Stamford Bridge in 2018, has struggled this season and was recently dropped in favour of Willy Caballero.
There have been plenty of reports suggesting Lampard is not Arrizabalaga’s biggest fan, but The Mirror state this could soon cause problems behind the scenes. Lampard wants to sell him, but club officials are determined to give him more time.
Director Marina Granovskaia is believed to be strongly against the idea of offloading the goalkeeper as she was personally involved in the deal to sign him. Granovskaia knows the club would likely make a huge loss and is not prepared to let that happen.
However, Lampard is thought to have already made his mind up. Burnley’s Nick Pope and Crystal Palace’s Vicente Guaita are suggested as potential replacements, while Manchester United’s Dean Henderson has also been discussed.
It has even been reported that Arrizabalaga may never be returned to the starting lineup at Stamford Bridge, although Caballero, who was given the nod for the 2-2 draw with Leicester City, hardly covered himself in glory either.
The Argentine, who did make an impressive save to deny Jamie Vardy in the first half, was caught out of position for Ben Chilwell’s goal, leaving Chelsea battling to earn a point.
It is unknown whether Arrizabalaga will return to the team after the winter break, but it certainly seems as though Lampard will face pressure to include the Spaniard from Granovskaia and other officials.
The situation brings back memories of Andriy Shevchenko’s spell at the club between 2006 and 2009. Owner Roman Abramovich pushed for the signing against then-boss José Mourinho’s wishes and forced the manager to play Shevchenko, despite the fact that he couldn’t fit in the team.
The incident ultimately contributed to Mourinho’s departure from the club and fans will certainly hope Lampard does not meet the same fate.