Maurizio Sarri has threatened to drop Kepa Arrizabalaga for Wednesday’s home game against Tottenham for the collective good of the squad and has no regrets over losing his cool during the Carabao Cup final.
Arrizabalaga apologised on Monday to Sarri, his teammates and supporters for refusing the manager’s attempts to substitute him in the final minute of extra time before the penalty shootout won by Manchester City.
The 24-year-old, who saved one spot-kick but might have stopped another from Sergio Agüero, was fined a week’s wages, around £190,000, for an act of petulance that very publicly undermined Sarri’s authority.
The Italian met the director Marina Granovskaia after Sunday’s final to discuss how best to proceed, with the hierarchy determining the sanction imposed on the world’s most expensive goalkeeper. Yet Sarri, who goes into the Spurs match clinging to his position after recent damaging results, gave Arrizabalaga no guarantees he would retain his place and praised the goalkeeper’s deputy, Willy Caballero, as “a reference point in the dressing room”.
Sarri said he would have to decide if Arrizabalaga started against Spurs. “I don’t know. Maybe yes. Maybe no. I think he is fit. It will be a decision for the [good of the] group. For the other players, all the players. I have to decide for my group. I want to send a message: the message could be Kepa is on the pitch, or Kepa is out the pitch. I have to decide what is better.