Why there's no point talking about Courtois at Chelsea until next summer

Stamford Bridge Outside

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is on loan at Atletico Madrid yet the young Belgian’s future is the subject of constant speculation.

The 22-year-old Belgium international signed for Chelsea from Genk in 2011 on a five-year contract aged 19. He was sent out immediately on loan in Spain where he has spent the last three years at Atletico Madrid, where he is the undisputed first choice goalkeeper.

He made 52 appearances for Atletico Madrid in his first season, 46 appearances in his second term and 56 appearances this season and led his side to the La Liga title this term and the Champions League Final under manager Diego Simeone.

Meanwhile, at Stamford Bridge, the Blues still rely on the outstanding services of their undisputed No.1 Petr Cech. When Courtois arrived in London, the Czech Republic international was still only 29, which, for a goalkeeper, is only just into the prime years of his career. Brad Friedel, for example, has carried on into his 40s and still competes at the highest level.

The other important factor to consider with goalkeepers is that not only do they retire much later in life but they improve the longer their careers go on. With outfield players, fitness and stamina as well as injuries can become a concern but with goalkeepers this is rarely the case. Petr Cech will likely not even consider retiring until he is well into his mid-thirties and at 32 now with a contract that runs for another two years at Chelsea there is little point discussing the future of Courtois now.

The stopper, a decade Cech’s junior, is well on his way to becoming one of the best goalkeepers in the world and that is largely due to his access to first team football in Spain. His contract runs until 2016 and Chelsea are in no danger yet of losing him on a free transfer and they can recall him from Atletico Madrid at any time they choose but there is little point in discussing his future until, at the very earliest, next summer when both he an Cech will enter the final years of their deals.

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