Kepa Arrizabalaga
Kepa joined Real Madrid on loan after Thibaut Courtois suffered an ACL injury. AFP / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS

Spanish giants Real Madrid will need to make a crucial decision on the fate of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Likewise, the club also needs to make some big decisions on other players amid their current injury crisis.

Kepa could be back at Stamford Bridge next season

It may be remembered that Kepa came in as an emergency substitute after Real Madrid's first-choice goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, suffered an ACL tear before the 2023/24 season started. Luckily for Los Blancos, the injury occurred while the summer transfer window was still open. As such a loan deal for Kepa was agreed with Chelsea FC.

However, reports out of Spain are stating that Kepa may be sent back to the Premier League side at the end of the season. This is after he also suffered an injury in early November, which gave Andriy Lunin a chance to shine.

The Ukrainian keeper has been waiting in the sidelines at Real Madrid for many years. However, when Courtois suffered an injury, Ancelotti did not immediately turn to him to take charge. Instead, they had to turn to Chelsea and agreed a loan deal for Kepa.

As fate would have it, Kepa suffered a muscular injury while warming up for a Champions League match against Braga in November. Before that, he has performed fairly well for the club, but has not really been exceptional.

In Kepa's absence, Ancelotti was forced to put his confidence in Lunin, who did not disappoint. He filled in for much longer than expected, and it seemed that he was called up to start even when Kepa was ready to play.

Instead of being out for a just a couple of weeks, Kepa had to sit on the bench for more than a month. Lunin started in eight matches across all competitions, and has proven himself worthy of the position.

Now, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti needs to make up his mind and he has promised to do so before the new year starts. Last week, ahead of Real Madrid's last match of the year against Alaves, he said: "I don't intend on ​​rotating in goal. They are both doing well. Lunin has progressed a lot and has shown a lot of confidence and Kepa has maintained his level. When Kepa returned from injury, I wanted to reward both of them. Tomorrow Kepa will play, and in the second part of the season I will choose one of the two."

If Lunin loses the spot, he will likely be sold where he can get more playing time, and his recent performances would have surely elevated his value.

Joselu's future is also on the line

Ahead of the 2023/24 season, Real Madrid also signed experienced striker Joselu from Espanyol on a €500k (£434k) loan deal. It was made possible due to the Catalan club's relegation, which triggered a clause on the player's contract. Apart from having been made available to go out on loan, Joselu also has a purchase option worth just €1.5m (£1.3m).

So far, the 33-year-old has not had a regular starting position, but he has already netted eight goals across all competitions. Real Madrid has been dealing with a massive injury crisis, and having someone like Joselu in the roster is something that Ancelotti has appreciated.

While most of the injured players have been defenders, Vinicius Jr. has also been out of action for several months and Rodrygo Goes has recently taken a knock on his knee. Needless to say, the gruelling schedule has taken its toll, and the injury concerns have been unpredictable. The club has been lucky to have such a deep bench which allows them to have players like Joselu and even Luka Modric coming off the bench.

With the club still in contention for every trophy available, Joselu may be able to have more chances to prove his worth in the coming months. He may be able to convince the club to trigger his buy-out clause, making him a full-blooded Madridista once more.