Chelsea are interested in a swoop for Brentford goalkeeper David Raya, who could be a bold replacement for Kepa Arrizabalaga and possibly entrusted with a starting role over the coming period under the club’s new ownership.
What’s the latest on Raya to Chelsea?
According to football.london, the Blues continue to observe the developing situation at Brentford, with the 27-year-old reportedly rejecting two contract offers from the Bees and available for £40m.
Chelsea were credited with an interest last month, alongside other Premier League suitors, and Raya appears to hint at his desire to play European football in an interview with Spanish outlet AS.
Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga are Graham Potter‘s two current senior options between the sticks, but neither appears to be considered within Boehly’s long-term plans.
Is Raya an upgrade on Kepa?
Brentford have been one of English football’s most remarkable success stories over the past several seasons. After clinching promotion from the Championship in 2021, Thomas Frank’s side – who have the fourth-lowest market value of any Premier League squad according to Transfermarkt – have soared to stability in the top half of the table.
The Bees currently sit in eighth place after 22 matches, above both Chelsea and Liverpool, and their Spanish goalkeeper has been instrumental in ensuring that their ascension has been maintained, starting 22 times in the Premier League and indeed playing every minute of action.
Should Chelsea sign David Raya?
As per Sofascore, the stopper has recorded an average rating of 7.25 this term, saying 77% of shots faced, winning 82% of his duels and earning eight clean sheets.
Further statistics highlighting his recent exploits only strengthen Raya’s claim to start for a team with ambitions of competing for major honours. As per FBref, the 27-year-old ranks among the top 12% of positional peers in Europe’s five main leagues for save percentage, the top 8% for touches and the top 11% for crosses stopped. With this in mind, a move away from Brentford might materialise.
Last month, when questioned about the rumoured interest in the Spaniard, Frank gave a curt response on the matter, stating that he has been left unsurprised by the intrigue in such a superlative force. The 49-year-old said: “I understand why they’re interested, he’s a very good keeper. He’s one of the best in the league but he’s going nowhere.”
While Kepa cost Chelsea a reported £71m (world record for a goalkeeper) when he joined in 2018, he has not quite lived up to expectations during his 144 appearances across five seasons, although he has replaced Mendy as the established first-choice during the current campaign.
However, there are several reasons as to why Raya would be a better option for Blues owner Todd Boehly’s ambitious project. Currently earning just £25k-per-week, he could well accept an increase to a figure which would still be below the £150k-per-week that his compatriot enjoys.
The 28-year-old Blues ‘keeper has enjoyed a resurgence regarding his shot-stopping capabilities (this season and last have seen him post his highest save percentages). However, his ball-playing skills (he ranks in only the 66th percentile of ‘keepers in Europe for passes per game) do not live up to the expectations of Potter, who likes to play fluid possession football, and a goalkeeper who can aptly contribute to this would serve him well indeed.
Finally, the Blues might simply benefit from a continuation of the sweeping changes in personnel over the past few months; and with neither Kepa nor Mendy seemingly convincing the club’s ownership, the Premier League-proven Raya could just be the perfect replacement.
Bearing all of this in mind, the Spaniard would appear to be the perfect option to replenish the Chelsea ranks. Boehly has been acting with conviction in the transfer market, and Raya could cement the defensive structure at Stamford Bridge for years to come.