For all those Chelsea fans feeling on top of the world right now, Onda Cero in Spain have delivered a gut-punch of a report, claiming Real Madrid are trying to negotiate a 2017 move for Thibaut Courtois.
After having their two-transfer window ban reduced to just one by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (via BBC Sport), Real are planning their summer transfer business, with a goalkeeper seemingly wanted. Onda Cero believe that the man they want is Courtois, who has been in excellent form for Antonio Conte’s table-topping Blues, and that negotiations are taking place – albeit they are likely at a formative stage.
If Real do get their way, losing Courtois would be a massive blow for the Blues. Although it will not have an effect on their current 2016/17 campaign and quest for the Premier League, Courtois, at 24 years of age, is likely to be a key component in Conte’s long-term plans at Stamford Bridge, which are sure to involve a Champions League return and yearly pushes for domestic honours. The Belgium No.1 has been in breath-taking for this season to keep ten league clean sheets – the joint-most of any goalie in any of Europe’s top five divisions (Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and La Liga).
Most clean sheets in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season:
Thibaut Courtois (10)
Yohann Pele (10)
Yoan Cardinale (8)
Danijel Subasic (8) pic.twitter.com/FhQIOxrEuv
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 19, 2016
Real tend to get their own way in the transfer market, so there’s a chance that if they come calling, Courtois may be swayed by the chance to join them, even though he recently told Cadena Cope (via Sky Sports) that he’s content at Chelsea:
“I am happy at Chelsea. Everything is going very well – it is a great club. There is no reason not to be happy at Chelsea. You never know what will happen in the future, but at the moment I am very well, in a very good atmosphere.”
Although Courtois is one of the best goalies in the Premier League, the position is, typically, not the most difficult to replace. There’s no doubt losing the former Atletico Madrid loanee would be a big blow, but for the sort of money Real would have to pay for him (a cautious estimate would be around £40m) players from far and wide could be looked at, with young talents such as Gianluigi Donnarumma on the scene, while even players like Jordan Pickford and Hugo Lloris may be considered from closer to home.