Thibaut Courtois Reportedly Delays Chelsea Talks to Offer Barcelona Hope

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Thibaut Courtois of Atletico de Madrid in action during the La Liga match between RCD Espanyol and Club Atletico de Madrid at Cornella-El Prat Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Thibaut Courtois will not entertain the idea of signing a new Chelsea contract until after the World Cup, according to reports.

The Belgian stopper—who is currently playing through his third loan season with Atletico Madrid—will give Jose Mourinho until July to decide whether he is ready to oust Petr Cech as Chelsea No. 1, providing Barcelona with fuel to capitalise on their interest, per Sky Sports.

As reported by Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail, Courtois is unwilling to commit to a Stamford Bridge future if he doesn't take up immediate residency between the sticks, despite Chelsea’s willingness to tie the stopper down with a contract extension:

Chelsea have made Courtois a formal proposal of a two-year extension to his contract which expires in 2016 and were hoping to open talks before the end of the season.

But the Belgian, 21, has made it known he will not sign a new deal without assurances that he will be given the chance to establish himself as the No 1 at Stamford Bridge and that he will not entertain the idea of another year on loan.

Such reports put Mourinho in a difficult situation if they prove to be true.

Courtois has emerged as one of the world’s finest young keepers and continues to play excellently for Atletico, which currently occupy second in La Liga, three points behind Barcelona and three ahead of city rivals Real Madrid, per

Courtois’ extended stay in both the Atletico and Belgium teams confirm he is ready to consistently perform at the top level. This is a player who possesses the ability to compete with the best and, despite his youth, is mature enough to handle the pressures of keeping goal for two improving sides.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06:  Goalkeeper Petr Cech of Chelsea celebrates his team's 3-0 victory during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Chelsea and FC Schalke 04 at Stamford Bridge on November 6, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive

Cech still offers Chelsea an awful lot. His presence is occasionally called into question when he makes a mistake—such as failing to save Sergio Aguero’s ambitious drive during the recent 2-1 win over Manchester City—but he has rarely let the Blues down since joining from Rennes in 2004.

The Czech Republic international will be 32 years of age when Courtois allegedly plans to make his decision. This is certainly too early to drop a player who has offered nine years of excellent service, suggesting Mourinho could be forced to let his young talent leave.

With Barcelona interested in replacing Victor Valdes with Courtois, per Nick Lustig of the Daily Star, the talented player may be set to extend his three-year stay in Spain to an entire career.

Mourinho could receive around £33.5 million for the goalkeeper, according to Barlow’s report, but he may regret losing the ready-made replacement for his trusted veteran.

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