London: Chelsea have signed goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to take their summer transfer window spending over $280 million, putting the future starting position of Kepa Arrizabalaga in doubt.
The 28-year-old Mendy has joined from French side Rennes, the club said Thursday, for a reported fee of $27.75 million on a five-year contract.
Kepa became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he was signed by Chelsea in 2018 for $93 million. But his errors in games have become increasingly costly for Chelsea — the latest in a 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the second match of the Premier League season on Sunday.
The need to sign Mendy was overseen by Petr Cech, the former Chelsea goalkeeper turned technical director. Cech also joined Chelsea from Rennes, 16 years ago.
“As soon as Petr Cech and our technical team identified Edouard as the most suitable goalkeeper to complement our existing group, there was only one player we wanted to bring in,” Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said. “Edouard arrives following a season of real success with Rennes, he is ambitious for more, and we welcome him to our club.”
The Senegal international helped Rennes qualify for the Champions League for the first time for this season. Chelsea’s third goalkeeper is the 38-year-old Willy Caballero.
Meanwhile, Luis Suarez cried as he bade farewell to Barcelona on Thursday but said he wants to prove he can still deliver at the highest level after joining La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.
With Lionel Messi at Camp Nou for his best friend’s final press conference, Suarez said an emotional goodbye after scoring 198 goals for Barca, becoming the third highest goalscorer in the history of the club.
“This is improvised because I have nothing prepared,” Suarez said wiping his eyes, having been introduced by the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The 33-year-old’s move to Atletico on a two-year contract had been confirmed late on Wednesday night. Atletico have signed Suarez for free but could pay Barcelona $6 million in variables.
“I feel I’m capable of continuing to compete in this league,” Suarez said. “I feel very eager and even more after the last year we had, when I had my injury, which also leaves you with a bittersweet feeling.
“I am going the way I’m going to keep playing, with fresh motivation, with the objective to show I can continue competing.”
Suarez follows Arturo Vidal, Nelson Semedo and Ivan Rakitic through the exit door at Barcelona, where new coach Ronald Koeman has been tasked with renovating the squad. Koeman told Suarez in August he was not part of the club’s plans.
“I expected it because it had been said already before the coach told me but I can accept it,” he said.
“When Barca told me they weren’t counting on me, there were many calls, many offers, but I was able to go to a team that can compete as equals with two great teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid. I had no doubts.”