Kepa Arrizabalaga claims his tag as the most expensive goalkeeper ever has had no effect on his Chelsea performances, adding that he doesn't see it as a burden.
The Blues’ number one has come in for criticism since his £71m move to Stamford Bridge in 2018, with backup goalkeeper Willy Caballero occasionally given the nod ahead of him.
The 25-year-old Spaniard's attitude was called into question last season after he refused to be substituted in the League Cup final, leading to a standoff with then-Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri.
However, despite some poor performances, Kepa insists the hefty transfer fee paid for him by Chelsea has nothing to do with his performances, and that being dropped to the substitutes’ bench is just part and parcel of the game.
“I’m fortunate enough to look beyond any price that was paid and try to improve my value by working hard, training hard and becoming a better goalkeeper, as well as a better person,” Kepa told talkSPORT.
“The price is not something that worries me or weighs heavy on my mind. When you play on average 50 or 60 games, the manager is always going to have decisions to make every week. Not just on goalkeepers, but on outfield players, and he’ll pick what he considers to be the best XI to represent the team that week. That’s what he’s there for, that’s his job.”
Chelsea have surpassed many fans’ expectations this season and look set to qualify for next season’s Champions League, even though a transfer ban meant they were unable to sign players in the summer.
Despite their achievements, Kepa added that their inconsistency has cost them a place higher up the Premier League table.
“Looking back, it’s been a very different kind of season due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Kepa noted. “I think, from the team’s point of view, we’ve had some good moments as a group, and some when things haven’t gone as well as we’ve hoped.
“If we managed to be more consistent as a group and carry on in that same vein of form that we’ve shown in a decent amount of games, we might be a little bit higher up that table.
“From a personal point of view, it’s the same as ever: working hard in training to bring what I can to the team and giving my best to help the lads out.”
With the club’s transfer ban now lifted, a number of marquee signings have already been announced, with Ajax’ Hakim Ziyech and Bundesliga sensation Timo Werner set to join the club this summer.
While insisting the current crop of Chelsea players are already extremely talented, Kepa conceded he’s excited for the new arrivals and that the club will be in a great position for the start of next season.
“The group of players we have in that dressing room and that squad is of a very high standard,” he added. "On paper, we’ve got a stunning group of players. The arrival of the two new lads, Werner and Ziyech, they’ve shown they’ve got great stats and they can put in some great performances.
“Next season does look very promising. Let’s hope they can help us to improve on what we’ve done this season."