After clear-out who will be Chelsea's number two goalkeeper next season?

Petr Cech At Stamford Bridge

Henrique Hilario and Ross Turnbull have been released by Chelsea; leaving questions over who will provide cover for Petr Cech.

It is that time of year again; when Premier League clubs up and down the country unveil their retained lists for 2012-13 highlighting the players staying and going on free transfers in the summer period.

Usually this time of year is rueful for young pretenders trying to make it in the game but there is also the odd big name who turns up in the list of released players.

Today Chelsea joined the growing contingent of clubs to release said list and there were some big but not surprising names on it.

Five players overall have left from the senior squad with Paulo Ferreira, Yossi Benayoun, Florent Malouda, Henrique Hilario and Ross Turnbull all sent on their way.

Ferreira had already confirmed his retirement while Benayoun has been talking up his exit for a while now. Meanwhile Malouda has spent the entire season in the shadows and was also a definite departure.

But allowing both Turnbull and Hilario to leave is the decision that best baffles me.

Because now the club are playing with potential fire in the goalkeeping department.

Obviously they have two world-class keepers already in Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois. But with Courtois unlikely to sit on the bench, considering his status as potentially the best goalkeeper in the world last season, he looks likely to be out on loan again.

This leaves Chelsea with just Cech minding the sticks.

Which is fine; if he stays fit?

But if not Chelsea are desperately thin on the ground after their self-imposed goalkeeping clipping.

So who is going to be the clubs number two next year?

Well Mourinho could always bring somebody in. Diego Lopez has been a fantastic servant at Real Madrid and could certainly be a decent bet.

Meanwhile experienced stoppers such as Thomas Sorensen or Mark Schwarzer are looking for new clubs this summer; the chance to play at this level could tempt them into being back-up for a season or two.

Then there are internal options.

Matej Delac has just had his contract extended and the Croatian under-21 international is not likely to go on loan this campaign. Meanwhile youngsters like Sam Walker and Jamal Blackman could be given the nod.

Or they could keep Courtois on board and let him and Cech battle it out for the number one spot. However that could risk alienating one of the players to the point of no return; something Mourinho will be very wary of.

It is certainly an area in which Chelsea need to start thinking about improving before the season gets under way; and we are sure Mourinho will do just that.

What do you think is a good option for Chelsea’s goalkeeping dilemma?

image: © Ben Sutherland

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