Chelsea given £40m dilemma as Todd Boehly risks Alisson and Thibaut Courtois disappointment
Todd Boehly may have to settle for what is available on the market this summer as Chelsea hope to bolster their options between the sticks. The Blues have been heavily linked with various goalkeepers recently, with Kepa Arrizabalaga and Edouard Mendy proving to be surplus to requirements.
One name on the tip of everyones tongue is David Raya from Brentford. The 27-year-old, who has turned down two contract offers from Brentford , has featured 35 times for Thomas Frank’s side in the Premier League this term, keeping 11 clean sheets. The Spain international’s impressive performances have reportedly caught the attention of several top clubs in Europe, with the west Londoners being one.
Raya has enjoyed a meteoric rise to superstardom at Brentford but there are question marks overs his ability to make the next step. So, using Fbref , football.london have taken a look at whether or not Raya is actually an upgrade on Kepa and Mendy.
For the purpose of a fair comparison, Mendy has been held to his standards of last season having spent much of this term on the sidelines. This season, Raya has featured 36 times and Kepa has played 26 times, while the season prior, Mendy featured 34 times. Across the games, Raya faces more shots on target (188), made more saves (146) and enjoyed a better save percentage (77.1%). But, Kepa and Mendy both conceded far less (27 and 31 respectively) and notched a better clean sheet percentage (34.6% and 41.2%).
From a general sense, Raya has been far busier, Kepa hasn’t been as reliable and Mendy would be a far safer option between the sticks. The Senegal international conceded just 0.91 goals per 90 minutes last term in the Premier League for Chelsea.
Passing out from the back
Raya is a more complete deep-lying playmaker compared to Kepa and Mendy. The Brentford star has completed 329 long passes – over 40 yards – which is far than the Chelsea duo (65 and 83 respectively). However, while Raya may be far more proficient, Mendy enjoyed a better success rate last season.
Shots from range
It’s worth highlighting a worrying statistic which concerns Raya. Last season, in Brentford’s first ever Premier League campaign, they conceded more goals from outside the box (13) than any other team in the division – Brighton were next with 11. Speaking to The Athletic in August, Frank described it as a ‘very unlucky pattern’ which need a larger sample size before coming to a conclusion. The Bees conceded goals to Antonio Rudiger from 38 yards, Curtis Jones from 28 yards and four from at least 24 yards against Leicester City.
In fairness to Brentford, that number has shrunk to nine with two games to spare of the current campaign but they’re still in the top-three, with Nottingham Forest (15) and Leicester City (17) topping the charts. So, while Raya has clearly improved when dealing with shots from outside the box, it’s still an issue.
Raya seems to be an attractive option between the sticks, but he’s doesn’t seem to be enough of an upgrade on Kepa or Mendy. However, while Chelsea would obviously prefer Alisson or Thibaut Courtois, the Brentford star could be the best available option on the market for now. For only £40million , the risk isn’t as big. So, yes, Raya would be a good signing but he isn’t what everyone thinks he is.