He's set to return to Stamford Bridge this season, but his path to the first team is blocked by Cech. Courtois is good enough to get first-team football at almost any other club, so he deserves to be playing each and every week.
Courtois has already made his plea to stay with Atletico Madrid next season (h/t John Cross of the Daily Mirror):
"The Premier League is different to Spain. I think Chelsea want me to adapt with a loan deal but I would prefer to play for Atletico in the Champions League rather than a team which fights for eighth place in the Premier League.
"I know Chelsea don't want to loan me to another big English team and I understand that but it is a difficult situation."The club has one of the strongest goalkeeping situations in the world."
With Cech, Chelsea has one of the best keepers in the Premier League. With Courtois, the club has arguably the best young goalkeeper in the world. It's an embarrassment of riches.
Some might have gotten a first look at Courtois during Atletico's 2-1 win over Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey. But he's been stellar ever since moving to the Vicente Calderon, as Dan Thomas of ESPN pointed out:
This wasn't a one off performance for Thibaut Courtois he's been epic over the last two seasons.— Dan Thomas (@DanThomasESPN) May 18, 2013
Courtois has been prone to making some silly mistakes, most of which are down to his overall inexperience. He's only going to turn 22 on May 11. When you watch Courtois, though, you see a keeper who is wise beyond his years and athletic enough to make the difficult saves look easy.
There is an argument to be made that Courtois should be the first-choice keeper for Chelsea next season. Jake Allingan of Squawka has crunched the numbers and determined, in his opinion, the difference between Courtois and Cech is not all that great.
Sure, there's going to be a transition as he adapts to the Premier League and his teammates. But Courtois is a much more developed keeper than David de Gea, so there won't be the same kind of magnified mistakes. Plus, it's clear to see how much de Gea has improved over the past few seasons.
You can't blame Chelsea for sticking with Cech next season, though. He's an established player and, at 31 years old, is far from finished.
What should Chelsea do with Thibaut Courtois?
With Courtois having to look elsewhere to get first-team football, it makes the most sense to let him stay at Atletico Madrid. He's comfortable there and has established a rapport with his back four and has the full confidence of Diego Simeone.
Going to a mid- to lower-table Premier League side would get Courtois acquainted with English football. Joe Hart helped himself a lot when he played with Birmingham City before moving to the Manchester City first team.
The question is, would that be the same as playing in the Champions League with Atletico? By virtue of finishing third in La Liga, Atletico Madrid is guaranteed Champions League football. Every player wants to play in the competition because it offers the highest quality of football in the world.
By playing in the group stage, Courtois will at least acquaint himself with the pressure cooker that is the Champions League. That will be massive when joining a club like Chelsea that demands UCL qualification and success every year.
Whether it's in England or Spain, Courtois needs to play regular football. If that's not going to happen at Stamford Bridge, then it should be at the Calderon.