Things are never really certain in football and Thibaut Courtois' ACL injury before the season even started surely had a major effect on Real Madrid's plans for the campaign. The Belgian was the undisputed starter between the posts for Los Blancos. In his absence, the club decided to bring in Kepa Arrizabalaga on loan from Chelsea rather than handing the first-team gloves to Andriy Lunin.
It looked like a great decision on their part as well. Kepa started the season strong and justified his place as a starter with some great performances. A short-term injury in early November might end up having a long-term effect on his future though.
Kepa got injured while warming up ahead of Real Madrid's Champions League group stage game against SC Braga. While it was not a long-term issue, it did allow Lunin to get a run of games and he took the opportunity with both hands.
Kepa has returned since then but has never looked as good as he did earlier in the season. Lunin might now be ahead of him in the pecking order and the Spaniard's hopes of staying at Real Madrid beyond this season might be slipping away fast.
29-year-old looks set to leave Real Madrid next summer
As reported by MARCA, right now Kepa's continuity at Real Madrid seems more than complicated. There has been no movement that could lead to thinking about converting what was a loan in the summer of 2023 into a permanent transfer. Courtois is counted on as a reference for the 2024-25 season and in that scenario, the second place goes to Lunin, although his decision remains to be seen.
Another thing that does not work in Kepa's favour is that he is no longer a youngster. He is 29 years of age. Just a couple of years younger than Courtois.
So, he is not someone who could be the long-term successor to Courtois. If Kepa had remained the starter throughout the season, a permanent deal would have been very possible. But now, that might no longer be on the table unless he impresses immensely in the second half of the campaign.