Athletic Bilbao said goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga paid his €80 million buyout clause on Wednesday, paving the way for the Spain international to join Premier League side Chelsea.
“The player has shown his desire to unilaterally put an end to the relationship tying him (to the club) since the 2004-’05 season,” Athletic said in a statement.
The 23-year-old is expected to replace Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Bridge for a fee that would surpass the €72.5 million Liverpool paid Roma for Brazilian Alisson last month.
Belgium number one Courtois has been strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid and has not returned to Chelsea training following the World Cup. Kepa has played 53 times in La Liga for Bilbao over the last two seasons, and made his international debut in a 5-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in November 2017.
He was also in the Spain squad for the recent World Cup in Russia as back-up to David De Gea, but did not see any playing time.