Chelsea have reportedly identified Ugurcan Cakir as a potential replacement for Kepa Arrizabalaga ahead of the upcoming transfer window. The Spanish goalkeeper has endured an inconsistent season at Stamford Bridge, raising questions about his future in west London.
Kepa become the most expensive goalkeeper in history after completing a £72million move from Atletico Madrid in 2018.
However, the 25-year-old had an uneasy relationship with former Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri before being dropped by Frank Lampard midway through the current campaign.
Kepa was reinstated to the starting XI shortly before the coronavirus crisis halted action, but there have still been numerous reports of a move away from Stamford Bridge this summer.
Andre Onana, Gianligi Donnarumma, Dean Henderson, Nick Pope and Manuel Neuer have all previously been touted as potential replacements, while Turkish stopper Cakir is the latest to be linked with a move.
Liverpool, Tottenham, Leicester and Sevilla have all reportedly held interest in Cakir, with claims even being made that the Reds’ launched a £22.4m (€25m) offer last month.
However, former Trabzonspor player Lemi Celik has suggested Chelsea are leading the race for the goalkeeper’s signature.
Speaking to Turkish radio station Radyospor, Celik said:“Chelsea want Ugurcan Cakir, they are prepared to pay €30m for him.
“Chelsea are the only side who are prepared to pay what Trabzonspor want for him and that makes them favourites.
“Ugurcan is more than capable of playing at Chelsea and he would be able to play in England as he is a goalkeeper for the Turkish national team and would meet the criteria set by the Premier League for foreign players who want to play there.”
Cakir has made two appearances for the Turkish national team, meaning he potentially meets the requirements for a UK work permit.
The 24-year-old has played key role in Trabzonspor’s title challenge this season, starting all but one of his side’s Super Lig matches.
Trabzonspor are currently joint-top of the table alongside Istanbul Basaksehir and are due to get their campaign back underway against Ankaragucu tonight.
Cakir was linked with Chelsea earlier this year, with reports surfacing in March which suggested the Blues were receiving inside information on the ace.
Fotospor claimed former Chelsea player and assistant manager Eddie Newton was providing his old club with key updates about Cakir’s situation, paving the way for a summer switch.
A new face between the posts will not be the only change potentially taking place at Stamford Bridge, with Hakim Ziyech set to arrive after penning a £33.4m move from Ajax in February and Timo Werner also expected to join after Chelsea agreed to trigger his £53m release clause.
The Blues also want Ben Chilwell from Leicester while Kai Havertz has emerged as a priority target with Lampard searching for more attacking creativity.