Chelsea should have made the acquisition of a new goalkeeper their top priority in what has been a busy transfer window, says Scott Minto, with Frank Lampard likely “having kittens at the prospect of facing Mohamed Salah” with the form that Kepa Arrizabalaga is in.
Questions have been asked of the Spanish shot-stopper at Stamford Bridge for some time now, despite the £71 million ($92m) custodian being the most expensive goalkeeper in world football.
Lampard dropped Kepa at times in 2019-20, but opened the new campaign with the 25-year-old as first choice against Brighton.
He saw another long-range effort slip past him against the Seagulls, leading to fresh calls for a new No 1 to be brought in.
Chelsea have added plenty of fresh faces to their ranks this summer, with Roman Abramovich bankrolling an elaborate spending spree, but no keeper has been acquired as yet – despite strong links to Rennes star Edouard Mendy.
Minto believes Lampard needs to address issues between the sticks, especially as the Blues are about to run into defending Premier League champions Liverpool and a fearsome attacking unit that includes Egyptian star Salah, who netted an opening day hat-trick against Leeds last time out.
“The one change Chelsea will need to make is in goal and if they could have made only one signing this summer it should have been someone to replace Kepa,” former Chelsea defender Minto told the Racing Post.
“I don’t want to be part of a pile-on when a player is struggling but on another night his latest mishap at Brighton could have cost the team vital points. A top keeper cannot allow a shot at that angle and from that distance to beat him and he has been at the club long enough to find his best form. It’s just not going to happen for him.
“Kepa will be tested again by Liverpool’s top-quality forward line and as a former left-back I think I would be having kittens at the prospect of facing Mohamed Salah in the form he is in.”
While still in the market for another keeper, Chelsea have bolstered their ranks elsewhere. Expectation levels are rising in west London, but Minto is not convinced that the Blues can go from top-four hopefuls to serious title challengers in the space of one window.
He added: “I don’t see Chelsea winning the title and it would be unfair to say they should. Yes, they have spent money but a huge chunk of that came from the sale of Eden Hazard last summer and it is going to take time for all of the new arrivals to bed in.
“We saw that in Monday’s win over Brighton when [Kai] Havertz understandably struggled a little bit but there was enough in Timo Werner’s performance to suggest he will become a key player for Chelsea this season.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how Frank develops the team and the formation. When I played I liked a settled position and a settled side so you could build relationships, however modern football isn’t like that and you don’t want to be predictable.
“At the same time you don’t want to be like Pep Guardiola against Lyon and end up too clever for your own good, particularly when coaches have not had six weeks to work on systems in pre-season.”