Yassine Bounou Claims He Was Real Madrid’s Initial Choice to Replace Injured Courtois

Real Madrid has found itself grappling with fitness issues once again this season, echoing the challenges of the previous campaign. Key players have already suffered injuries, fueling concerns of a potentially challenging season ahead. Real Madrid’s squad depth was relatively thin to begin with, and the growing list of injuries has compounded their woes.

One of the most significant early-season injuries was Thibaut Courtois tearing his ACL just days before the start of the 2023/24 season. Such a severe injury prompted the club to alter their summer transfer plans.

Real Madrid had Andriy Lunin in their ranks, but they ultimately secured the services of Kepa Arrizabalaga on loan from Chelsea for the season. Kepa has since been designated as the team’s number one goalkeeper.

However, it appears that Kepa might not have been Real Madrid’s initial choice to replace Courtois. According to comments made by Yassine Bounou, popularly known as Bono, on radio station Canal Sur, he believed he was the first option for Real Madrid. Bono stated, “[I was] the first option [for Madrid]. That’s what I understand. Afterwards, the board analyzed the situation, saw that I could go to the Africa Cup and miss a lot of games in an important month for Real Madrid and it wasn’t possible. In addition, they had other options that could manage at the transfer level that suited them better.”

The African Cup of Nations played a significant role in the transfer dynamics, both for Bono and Youssef En-Nesyri.

In the end, Bono did not join Real Madrid, leading the club to shift their attention to Kepa, who arrived on a season-long loan. Kepa was on the brink of a move to Bayern Munich before opting for Santiago Bernabeu instead.

Kepa has made a solid start in his Real Madrid career, featuring in goal against Celta Vigo and Getafe, conceding just one goal in his two appearances thus far. While it’s early days for Kepa at Real Madrid, his performances in the long run will determine whether a permanent move from Chelsea is on the horizon when his loan deal concludes.

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