The radical idea that could keep Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea

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Reports have been widespread over the past week of apparent interest in Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois.

The Chelsea shot stopper is currently on loan with Atletico Madrid, where he’s spent a considerable time learning his game away from Stamford Bridge.

He’s managed to establish a reputation for himself as one of the most promising young goalkeepers in Europe, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by a variety of big sides reportedly interested in him.

Jose Mourinho wanted to bring Courtois back to Stamford Bridge for this season as back up for Petr Cech but the 21-year-old rejected the idea on the basis it could threaten his place in the Belgian national side ahead of the World Cup next summer.

Chelsea are now in a difficult position because Barcelona recently sniffing around shows the calibre the youngster is carrying, exposing the real threat that he could be vulnerable to a big money offer in the near future.

He is certainly seen at Chelsea as the replacement for Petr Cech, but such is the speed of his progression in top flight football, Mourinho may have to consider a radical idea to keep Courtois safely at Stamford Bridge for the majority of his career.

That idea could be sacrificing Cech next summer, allowing Courtois to walk into the Chelsea first team.

However, the problem with that is double edged for Mourinho. Firstly, Cech has done nothing wrong to deserve being forced out of the exit door and secondly, it risks alienating several of the important high profile players at the club.

It’s not a move that several older members in the dressing room would likely take very kindly to because Cech has been one of the constant factors in Chelsea’s success under Roman Abramovich despite the high turnover of managers.

It’s a real headache for Mourinho because this season has shown that if Courtois is not going to be the undoubted number one at Chelsea, he’s not interested in warming the bench for the Czech international.

Considering how successful his career has been in La Liga, that certainly increases the chance that Courtois won’t want to return to West London.

There are plenty of sides that could be interested in snapping him up such as Barcelona if a deal for Pepe Reina doesn’t go through, Atletico Madrid who would more than likely like him on a permanent basis, but also a Premier League side like Arsenal, who have had a question mark hanging over their goalkeepers for the last couple of seasons.

If he does get sold next summer then Chelsea fans could be questioning the decision in two or three years time, especially if he’s successful away from the Blues with Cech heading towards his mid-30s.

What do Chelsea do? Keep Cech and risk losing Courtois or keep Courtois and sacrifice Cech?

image: © Jason Bagley

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