Robert Sanchez Transfer Update: What’s the latest with his potential Chelsea move?

Chelsea are looking to address their lack of depth between the sticks this summer after Edouard Mendy completed his move to Saudi Pro League side Al-Ahli at the end of June for a fee believed to be around the £16 million mark. 

It leaves the Blues with only Kepa Arrizabalaga as a senior goalkeeper in the squad, and although some believed this might open up opportunities for youngsters such as Gabriel Slonina and Jamie Cummings, this appears not to be the case. 

It has been widely reported that they are in talks with Brighton to sign 25-year-old Robert Sanchez, who has slipped down the pecking order at the Amex under Roberto de Zerbi. 

Robert Sanchez of Brighton and Hove Albion in action during the The FA Cup match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton and Hove.
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Formal Bid Submitted for Sanchez 

According to both Fabrizio Romano and The Athletic, Chelsea have now submitted a formal offer for Sanchez, although the amount has not been disclosed. 

De Zerbi dropped Sanchez as Brighton’s first-choice goalkeeper in March in favour of Englishman Jason Steele, who the Italian spoke of as being a better fit for the football he wanted to play due to his ability with the ball at his feet. 

And the Seagulls have bolstered their goalkeeping department this summer, bringing in 20-year-old Bart Verbruggen from Anderlecht, an exceptionally talented who many expect to immediately become the first-choice option for Brighton. 

This means that there is a surplus of goalkeepers on the South Coast, and Sanchez was left out of their pre-season tour of the United States in order to find himself a new club. 

Romano also posits that Chelsea have agreed personal terms with Sanchez’s intermediaries – stating on his YouTube channel that “Brighton want Sanchez to leave and Sanchez wants to go to Chelsea, he's been very clear.”

Ahead of the summer, it was reported that Brighton were looking for around £30 million to let Sanchez leave, but with the Spaniard axed from the squad and training with the under-18’s, there is some doubt whether anyone will get close to that figure. 

Harvey Barnes shoots at Robert Sanchez of Brighton
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A Long-Term Target

Back in January, Chelsea journalist Simon Phillips told GiveMeSport that Sanchez was someone that Chelsea had been “taking a closer look at”, and that he was “high up on their list” of potential targets should they move for a goalkeeper in the window. 

Obviously that didn’t come to fruition at the time, but it’s clear that the twice-capped Spanish international has been on the radar of Todd Boehly and co for some time. 

Graham Potter was still the Chelsea manager at that point, and so it’s understandable that he would have pushed for a reunion with a goalkeeper who was so crucial to his success at Brighton, but there’s reason to believe that Pochettino would also be a good fit. 

Spanish national soccer team's goalkeeper Robert Sanchez attends a training session held at Las Rozas Soccer City in Madrid, Spain
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As an Argentine, there would be no language barrier for Pochettino to traverse with Sanchez, and pairing him with compatriot Kepa would potentially build a strong working relationship between the two countrymen. 

And there’s also the contract scenario. With two years left on his £25,000-a-week deal at Brighton, this is an opportune time to sell for the South Coast club, but it suggests that Chelsea also wouldn’t need to hugely adjust their wage budget to fit him in. 

A hallmark of Boehly’s time at Chelsea has been trying to reduce the wage bill at the club, which reached mammoth proportions under predecessor Roman Abramovich. 

It’s meant giving longer contracts to young players in some cases, but many of Chelsea’s top weekly earners last season, including Kalidou Koulibaly, N’Golo Kante, Cesar Azpilicueta and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, all of whom were over the age of 30, have been moved on from the club this summer. 

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin challenges for the ball in the air with Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Robert Sanchez during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool.
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Time For Sanchez To Shine Again?

Now relegated to third-choice at Brighton, there will be legitimate questions over whether this is the kind of calibre of goalkeeper that Chelsea need to push back into the European spots in the Premier League, but context has to be taken into account. 

De Zerbi’s change of goalkeepers was a stylistic one – and given that Steele ended the season with an 88% passing accuracy statistic, and Brighton made the Europa League, it’s one that clearly paid off. 

But that’s not to take away from Sanchez’s ability between the sticks. Described by former manager and former Chelsea head coach Graham Potter as a “monster” in his area after one particularly dominant performance against Burnley at Turf Moor, the Spaniard is a commanding presence in his area.

Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Robert Sanchez collects the ball ahead of Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo
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Presence has been an area in which Chelsea fans have been critical of current No. 1 Kepa Arrizabalaga, so adding the 6-foot-6 Sanchez should be something that goes down well with the Stamford Bridge faithful.

Back in 2021/22, Sanchez led the Premier League in terms of high claims from crosses, something which Potter credited for being a key part of his side’s ability to remain calm in pressure situations.  

He’s not just a big unit though – when adjusted for their respective Premier League records, Sanchez trumps Kepa in save percentage, and in post-shot expected goals against – which measures how many goals a keeper prevents based on expected goals scored. 

This isn’t just historical data either – although Sanchez lost his spot at the start of last season, his first few games saw him in inspired form for the Seagulls – as this tweet from Albion Analytics shows.  

Chelsea were linked with the likes of David Raya and Andre Onana earlier in the window, both of which look likely to end up at Top Four rivals in the shape of Arsenal and Manchester United respectively. 

But in Robert Sanchez they might well have found an option that’s both undervalued by his current club for stylistic reasons and with the ability to kick on and impress once again. 

Mauricio Pochettino will know the value of having a player with a point to prove, and with a sizeable ex-Brighton contingent at Chelsea already in the shape of Marc Cucurella and Levi Colwill, as well as goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts and assistant manager Bruno Saltor, he should find an environment that he can call home very quickly.