Kepa Arrizabalaga is closer than ever to being a Real Madrid footballer next season. At the Bernabéu, the decision has been made: right now, the Athletic Club keeper is the only candidate to strengthen in goal. And the player's situation appears to increasingly favour a summer switch. In recent days, there have been reports that Kepa is near to agreeing a new contract with Athletic - but his advisers categorically deny these claims.
Kepa's camp unhappy with Athletic, Real confident of getting their man
Indeed, Kepa's camp is not happy with Athletic. They believe that there have been leaks by the Basque club to put pressure on the 23-year-old, and insist that talks are no closer to completion. The keeper's contract expires at the end of June 2018, and from 1 January he will be free to talk to other clubs. That's when Real will make their move to clinch his services from 2018/19 onwards. At Los Blancos, there is complete confidence that Kepa will become a Real player.
Real opted for Kepa over Donnarumma at Under-21 Euros
Real Madrid are long-term admirers of Kepa, with their scouting of the Spanish custodian reaching a key moment during June's European Under-21 Championship. That day, the youngster's Spain team came up against Italy in the semi-finals, with AC Milan starlet Gianluigi Donnarumma - who was also being tracked by Real - at the opposite end. The pair's displays that night in the Spaniards' 3-1 win left Los Merengues' chiefs in no doubt: Kepa was the choice.