Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal to sign former Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli on a free transfer this summer.
The Blues lost backup stopper Willy Caballero after the Argentine’s contract expired and have been on the hunt for a replacement, with Bettinelli on a short list that has also included names like Wayne Hennessey and Sergio Romero.
According to the Daily Mail, club officials have settled on Bettinelli, who has agreed a two-year contract with Thomas Tuchel’s side.
Within the next 48 hours, Bettinelli is set to undergo his medical and put pen to paper on a contract to become Chelsea‘s first signing of the summer.
Interestingly, Chelsea have been admirers of Bettinelli for some time now. The Blues first chased him back in 2015 but failed to convince him to take up a spot on their bench, but things have changed and Bettinelli is now ready for a backup role.
Chelsea chose to reignite their pursuit of Bettinelli as part of their quest to boost their home-grown quota. Using one of the foreign spots on Caballero last season was hardly ideal, but Bettinelli will offer an extra boost to the squad in that regard.
As it stands, he would be Chelsea’s third-choice shot stopper, behind Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga, but he could be promoted to first reserve if the latter ends up leaving the club.
The world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Kepa spent last season on the bench after a poor 2019/20 season, and keeping such an expensive player on the fringes of the first team doesn’t really work for anyone.
Kepa has been linked with a move to Lazio to reunite with former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, while there has also been tentative interest from his homeland of Spain.
With the signing of Bettinelli now almost done, Chelsea may be more willing to pursue an exit for Kepa.