Frank Lampard knew midway through last season that Chelsea required a top-class goalkeeper to replace the unconvincing Kepa Arrizabalaga.
According to reports from December 2019, Lampard instructed his scouts to identify a replacement ahead of the 2020 summer transfer window.
Various names were linked - including Atletico Madrid’s world-class ‘keeper Jan Oblak - but Chelsea eventually settled on Rennes’ Edouard Mendy.
Lampard insisted Mendy had been signed to provide competition for Kepa, who cost a record £71.5 million to sign from Athletic Bilbao in August 2018.
However, it was presumed that the Chelsea boss said this to avoid further demoralising the confidence-shattered Spaniard.
Mendy made his Premier League debut in Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on October 3 but suffered a thigh injury while on international duty with Senegal.
This meant Lampard was forced to choose between Kepa and Willy Caballero for Saturday’s Premier League clash against Southampton.
He put his faith in Kepa but, once again, the Spain international failed to impress.
The 26-year-old conceded three goals, including an equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time, as Chelsea drew with their south-coast opponents.
The second goal Chelsea conceded, scored by Che Adams, was calamitous.
Kurt Zouma’s poor back-pass was short but Kepa still had an opportunity to clear the ball.
Instead, he inexplicably allowed the ball to roll past him. Moments later, Adams stuck the ball in the net to make it 2-2.
Watch the goal here…
What a shambles.
Following Chelsea’s 3-3 draw against Southampton, Kepa now has the joint-lowest rating of any Premier League player so far this season.
Per WhoScored.com, 254th-placed Kepa is in last place (alongside Burnley’s Nick Pope) with a dismal rating of 5.48 out of 10.
All players with total appearances greater than the average number of appearances (so, a minimum of three appearances) in the Premier League make the list.
While it’s still early days in the season, this is still deeply concerning for Chelsea.
Furthermore, Kepa has now made three errors leading to goals in just three appearances this term.
Per Squawka, that's at least two more than any other player in the competition.
Kepa’s confidence is clearly shot to pieces and everyone - teammates, opponents, coaching staff and fans - now expect mistakes every time he plays.
Lampard will be desperately hoping Mendy recovers in time for the matches against Sevilla and Manchester United in the Champions League and Premier League respectively next week.
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