Kepa Arrizabalaga
Kepa Arrizabalaga will continue at Athletic Club until 2025 Getty


  • 23-year-old goalkeeper will have a £70.5m release clause in his new contract.
  • Arsenal and Juventus had also been linked with a move for his services.
  • Los Blancos could now once again turn their attentions towards David De Gea and Thibaut Courtois.

Kepa Arrizabalaga has committed his future to Athletic Club Bilbao by signing a new long-term deal with a €80m (£70.5m, $98m) release clause despite being widely expected to leave San Mames to join Real Madrid.

The 23-year-old goalkeeper only made his first-team debut with the Basque side in September 2016 but has since developed into one of the most promising stoppers in Europe.

Kepa was part of the Spain squad that lost to Germany in the Under-21 European Championship final in the summer and is expected to be part of the senior group for the upcoming 2018 World Cup alongside Manchester United's David De Gea and Napoli's Pepe Reina.

The Spaniard has been at Athletic since the age of 10 but his future at the club has come under question in recent times as his previous contract at San Mames was set to expire at the end of the current season.

Marca said in November that Arsenal and Juventus were monitoring the situation ahead of him becoming a free agent in the summer.

Arsenal are said to be looking for a long-term replacement for 35-year-old Petr Cech, while the Italian giants are also on the hunt for a young stopper to fill the big shoes of 39-year-old Gianluigi Buffon.

However, last month Marca reported that Real Madrid were ready to beat the Gunners and Juventus by meeting Kepa's €20m release clause during the current January transfer window.

Real had the option to sign Kepa for free in the summer but the Spanish publication claimed that Los Blancos were ready to bring the deal forward in order to provide competition for Keylor Navas in the second half of the season.

Earlier this month, a number of reports claimed that the promising goalkeeper underwent a medical in Madrid ahead of completing his transfer to the Santiago Bernabeu.

The move appeared a mere formality at that stage, but days later Zinedine Zidane put it in question by ruling out the signing of a new 'keeper, stating that he fully trusted Navas and current second-choice option Kiko Casilla.

Reports in Spain subsequently suggested that Real were still planning to sign Kepa but that they would wait until the summer to get him as a free agent.

However, the saga took a major twist over the weekend with reports claiming that Kepa had changed his mind and was instead ready to sign a new long-term deal at Athletic.

The Basque side have now confirmed the big news only days after they also committed the long-term future of Iñaki Williams to San Mames with a similar contract.

"Athletic Club and Kepa Arrizabalaga have signed the renewal contract by which the player will remain in the rojiblanca discipline until 30 June 2025. His cancellation clause will be 80 million Euros," the La Liga side confirmed.

Kepa's new release clause is likely to put an end to all the speculation linking him with Real or any other club.

Yet the new development will surely put Manchester United and Chelsea on red alert with Los Blancos now expected to renew their long-term interest in De Gea and Thibaut Courtois.