Chelsea tonight confirmed Kepa Arrizabalaga’s £71.6million world-record signing from Athletic Bilbao – after selling Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid.
Kepa’s fee is the highest ever for a keeper, beating the £67m Liverpool paid Roma for Brazil’s Alisson just last month.
Kepa, 23, told Chelsea’s website tonight: “It’s a very important decision for me, for my career, and also for my personal life.
‘So many things attracted me to the club, all the titles the club has won, the other players, the city, the English Premier League.
“It’s an accumulation of things, and I am very glad Chelsea has decided to trust me and to take me in as well.”
Kepa had a medical earlier today after the Blues paved the way for his arrival 24 hours earlier by paying Bilbao his release clause.
Meanwhile, Belgium superstar Courtois, 25, jetted to Spain to finalise his £38m switch to European champions Real.
Yet Chelsea only conceded defeat in their fight to keep Courtois over the weekend.
The World Cup’s top stopper refused to report for pre-season training this week.
And that sped up the Blues’ move for Kepa.
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said: “Kepa is a talent we have admired for a long time and we are extremely excited about his arrival.
“He has already demonstrated fantastic quality and consistency and will be a big part of any success Chelsea have in the coming years.
“His long-term contract reflects the belief we have in him and we look ahead to the coming seasons with an enormous sense of optimism.”
Bilbao earlier released a statement saying: “On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, at 12:02 hours, the Professional Football League has certified that the player Kepa Arrizabalaga has met the requirements for the valid unilateral termination of the work contract that linked him to Athletic Club.
“The aforementioned certification indicates that the player has expressed his desire to terminate and unilaterally resolve the relationship that joined him since the 2004-05 season, and that the amount of the compensation established in the contract has been deposited.
“Athletic thanks the player for his contribution during the time he has remained in our club.”