Chelsea have reportedly put a £20 million price tag on backup goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in order to scare off any interest in the shot-stopper this summer.
The highly-rated Belgian international was touted as a potential transfer target for Atletico Madrid—currently on loan—earlier this year, but the Blues are adamant that they want to keep the 20-year-old on for the future and will not sell him for less than the reported amount.
Chelsea have slapped a £20 million price tag on goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois—despite the highly rated Belgian having never played a game for them.
Atletico are one of a number of clubs interested in signing him and in a bid to warn possible suitors off the player they signed from Genk for £7m in 2011, Chelsea will not even listen to offers below £20 million according to The Evening Standard.
The Belgium international is already being targeted by a number of clubs, but Chelsea do not want to sell.
Whilst the move might seem ridiculous given the amount of money they would get in return, the reality is that the Blues are making the right call not to sell.
Especially not to Atletico Madrid, who could well be one of the Blues' top rivals in various European competitions over the next few seasons.
The West London club are in somewhat of a difficult position with Courtois, given that starting goalkeeper Petr Cech is under contract with the club until 2016. And with Cech playing well again this season, it's hard to see them opting to ship him out any time in the near future.
At just 30 years of age, Cech could technically keep playing for another decade—especially given the form that he's shown over the past few years. Yet, with Courtois waiting in the wings, it's hard to see the Blues letting the shot-stopper stay on for that long, given the talent that the Belgian has.
Courtois is an extremely strong goalkeeper who simply doesn't make mistakes in his game. He has brilliant reflexes, and whilst his aerial skills haven't been completely refined yet (having not played in the English competition), he has shown the versatility and adaptability to suggest he would adjust fine playing English football.
Chelsea would therefore want to see him operate within their starting side in a few years—especially given he's still such a young player.
The year Cech's contract is up, 2016, would see Courtois aged just 24 and likely further developed in his skills and talents. By that stage, depending on where he's playing, the goalkeeper could very well be considered as one of the top shot-stoppers in world football.
Which could give Chelsea options to consider.
They can either hang on to Cech and give him another deal (depending on how he's playing, most likely) or they can opt to switch to Courtois. The youngster would have had experience in many competitions around the world by that stage, and given the success he's had at Atletico Madrid already, would be a fantastic addition for the Blues.
If the answer is Cech, Courtois could be worth closer to £30 million to £35 million than £20 million, and allows the Blues to make a huge profit on the star goalkeeper. And if the answer is Courtois, then they have a brilliant young player (only 24) coming into their mix who can play for them for the next decade.
It's a win-win either way if the Blues play it right; they just need to get to 2016 with both players still on hand and understanding of their respective futures.
Send him out on loan, absolutely. But Chelsea must not sell him off this summer—not until they know just how good Courtois could be for them in the future.
Otherwise they might just be selling the equivalent of the footballing jackpot for significantly less than what it's actually worth.
What do you think Chelsea should do with Thibaut Courtois?
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