Jan Oblak turned down Chelsea move

Slovenia international Jan Oblak is reported to have turned down advances from Chelsea despite the club triggering the £90m release clause on his Atletico Madrid contract. The 25-year-old had emerged as the prime target for the Blues after Thibaut Courtois made his mind up to join Real Madrid but they could not convince the shot-stopper to head to Stamford Bridge.

According to The Sunday Times, the West London giants agreed to activate the £90m escape clause on the goalkeeper’s contract but the Slovenian nevertheless vetoed the move as the Blues could not assure him of Champions League football. As a result, the Capital outfit made a late attempt to sign Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao instead and they were successful after triggering the £71m buy-out clause written into his contract.

Since then, the mood has been relatively positive around the FA Cup holders with Kepa making a solid debut at Huddersfield Town but the forthcoming challenges may determine whether the Spaniard can adjust to the rigours of the Premier League. Meanwhile, the departure of Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid has helped the Blues to bolster the midfield with Mateo Kovacic arriving on a season-long loan as part of the move.

Earlier this month, Sarri emphasised the need for a midfielder with different characteristics than the current crop of players and Kovacic certainly offers that with the ability to be efficient on either side of the field. Chelsea secured a rather comfortable 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town during their season opener but they can expect a tougher test this weekend where they are scheduled to host cross-town rivals Arsenal.

Over the past year, the Blues have struggled to showcase dominance over their London rivals, who have remained unbeaten in six meetings but they could put this record straight this weekend as they seek to stay with Manchester City during the early phase of the title race.