Kepa
Kepa Arrizabalaga was linked with a move to Real Madrid Getty

Kepa Arrizabalaga believes he made the right choice to commit his future to Athletic Bilbao despite being linked with a move to Real Madrid.

With his contract expiring in the summer of 2018, Kepa was reportedly being monitored by the likes of Arsenal and Juventus as recently as November.

However, Madrid emerged as favourites after it was reported by Marca last month that they were willing to meet the 23-year-old goalkeeper's €20m (£17.5m, $24.7m) release clause during the current January transfer window.

The move seemed to be a formality until manager Zinedine Zidane ruled out any January signings with Los Blancos instead, expected to finalise a deal for Kepa in the summer when he was to become a free agent.

But in a big twist, the Ondarroa native had a change of heart and signed a new deal with Bilbao that will keep him at San Mames until 2025. In addition, his release clause has been increased to a staggering €80m (£70.5m, $98m).

Kepa stated that Bilbao was his home and having been with them since he was nine years of age, realised the best option was to keep playing for his boyhood club.

"I am very happy to continue in what I consider my home," Kepa said, as per FourFourTwo. "I have been here for almost 15 years, I joined when I was nine.

"It is a very important moment. for me and for my career, I am happy that after a long negotiation everything has come to fruition. Since I was little I've been an Athletic fan and always will be.

"Those who are close to me or more know me know that I am a person who likes to analyse everything before making a decision. I have taken my time and I want to thank the club that respected it to make my decision. There have been proposals but I considered that the best thing for me was to remain at Athletic for a long time."

Meanwhile, Chelsea will be on alert as the reigning Champions League winners are now expected to renew their long-term interest in Thibaut Courtois.

AS report that Madrid learned of Kepa's decision days in advance and have doubled their efforts to lure the Belgian goalkeeper away from Stamford Bridge.