Enzo Fernandez was the star of the show on a dim night for Chelsea after they were held to a goalless draw against Fulham on Friday.
The Argentina World Cup winner, who made the £106million move to Stamford Bridge on deadline day, was thrown straight into the XI by Graham Potter as the Blues looked to get back to winning ways in the Premier League.
Although it was a positive performance from the midfielder, he was unable to help his side to three points.
Chelsea huffed and puffed but did not have enough guile and creativity to break down a compact Fulham side in west London.
Following the full-time whistle, Kepa was full of praise for Fernandez and teammate Benoit Badiashile for their performances.
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa has heaped praise on Enzo Fernandez and Benoit Badiashile after they impressed in the Blues‘ goalless draw against Fulham.
The Spaniard also stood out as he made a handful of excellent saves to ensure the Blues kept their third successive clean sheet in the Premier League.
Badiashile has been pivotal to Chelsea’s up-turn in defensive form, while Fernandez added an extra dimension to the Blues‘ midfield.
“Enzo arrived yesterday [Thursday], had one training session and then played 90 minutes. I think everyone saw his quality and how well he played. He is a big player for us, and hopefully he can help us a lot,” Kepa told the club’s website.
“Benoit is a really good guy, very calm and has big quality with the ball. He’s also strong in the air, he’s having a great impact on the team and hopefully we can keep doing this.”
“Kepa added:”Personally, I am feeling good and happy, with a lot of confidence.
Every player is running a lot and covering spaces and pressing, so it is the work of 11 players, not just me.
“It’s a big game against West Ham next week. We have all of the week to prepare for it and we’ll go there for a win, for the three points because we need it.”
Mason Mount’s future is firmly in doubt after talks over a new Chelsea contract were put on hold – and the two parties are reportedly ‘a long way apart‘ on coming to an agreement.
The 24-year-old has less than 18 months left on his current deal at Stamford Bridge, having come through the ranks, and he has since progressed into an integral first-team player.
Mount last signed a new contract in July 2019 after impressing on loan with Frank Lampard at Derby but is now coming to the end of that deal.
According to the Daily Mail, negotiations between Mount’s representatives and the club were halted after the England international rejected an offer as he felt it was below what others are earning.
Mount pockets £80,000-a-week at the moment – but that staggeringly doesn’t even put him inside the top 20 paid players at Chelsea.
It is understood Mount is hoping to treble his wages to around £240k-a-week but the club are offering significantly less than they are paying the likes of expensive recruits Sterling and Fofana.
Todd Boehly has spent over £600million since he took over at the west London club last summer and splashed more than half of that in January.
West Ham manager David Moyes has reiterated to Arsenal and Chelsea that in order to sign Declan Rice they’ll have to stump up a British-record transfer fee – and then some.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have been strongly linked with the West Ham captain, who Moyes has maintained will cost a pretty penny if he were to leave the London Stadium.
Rice, 24, has been one of the Premier League’s best central midfielders for the past three seasons and a key player for England at two major tournaments.
The Scottish boss declared after West Ham’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Saturday: “Declan was a top player in the first half, he showed so many things. Undoubtedly he’s going to be a top player and undoubtedly he’ll be a British transfer record and more whenever he leaves West Ham.“.
Asked if his star’s departure now feels inevitable, Moyes replied: “I hope it’s not! A lot’s been said about it and when you see what’s been happening with prices, I think Declan will be blowing that out the water when it comes around.”