Chelsea Transfer Rumours: Jose Mourinho Would Be Crazy to Lose Thibaut Courtois

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 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)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Chelsea's group of young talent, from the cultured right foot of Eden Hazard to the unwanted-but-soon-to-be-needed goalscoring prowess of Romelu Lukaku, undoubtedly ranks among the best in the world.

However, while fans understandably love to focus on the firepower they can expect to witness across coming years, it's the potential loss of another Belgian talent that should have the Stamford Bridge faithful worried.

Thibaut Courtois, who has spent the last three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, must be retained without exception.

Barcelona's apparent interest, per John Edwards of the Daily Mail, is likely to rush Jose Mourinho into a huge decision, while the player's need for assurances on his future will also intensify the situation, per Kristof Terreur of Sky Sports.


Mourinho's Imminent Decision

While Chelsea continue to utilise the skills of Petr Cech—who rightfully deserves to be outlined as one of the Premier League's greatest-ever goalkeepers—it's important Mourinho's judgment isn't clouded by achievements of years gone by.

Cech is still a fantastic keeper and an era-defining player for the Blues. At 31 years of age, he still has plenty of years left in him. Even so, his continued presence in the team could come back to haunt Chelsea across the next two decades.

There are two scenarios to consider here.

In the first scenario, Mourinho picks Courtois as Chelsea's No. 1 from next season. Although Cech's relegation to the bench or potential sale would be disappointing, the club would only be missing out on a few years' top service from the Czech international.

The second scenario sees Mourinho stand by Cech, repay him for his loyalty and risk seeing Courtois build a 20-year career elsewhere.

Of course, an unwarranted third scenario may see Courtois return to London and sit on the bench until he gets his chance, but that is extremely unlikely.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Petr Cech of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Chelsea at the Stadium of Light on December 4, 2013 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
Paul Thomas/Getty Images


A Proven Success

He may only be 21, but Courtois is already a proven success at the highest levels of the game.

The former Genk player has helped Atletico to triumphs in the Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and Copa Del Rey since heading to the Vicente Calderon, claiming a spot in goal for Belgium along the way.

Just like Hazard and Lukaku, Courtois needs to be playing regular football. He is more than capable of making match-winning saves, already possesses the mental capacity to compete at the top level and is fearless in the heart of battle.

His reflexes are lightning fast and they arguably outperform the ability of Cech from close range.

Similar to David De Gea, who also used to frequent Atletico colours, Courtois' natural instincts often provide the Spanish club with an impenetrable wall. Importantly, it also allows him to make up for any positioning misjudgments.

He is an avid commander at the back and isn't the type of individual who is overawed by the stature of his opponents, or indeed teammates.

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 28:  Alvaro Morata of Real Madrid CF shoots towards goal under a challenge by Thibaut Courtois of Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico de Madrid at Bernabeu on September 28, 2013 in
David Ramos/Getty Images


Chelsea's Very Own Peter Schmeichel

Even though he has proven world-class attributes, Courtois' future remains in the balance. While the short-term loss of Cech would undoubtedly be a sad day for all at the club, long-term stability is staring Mourinho in the face.

The Portuguese manager doesn't need to replicate Sir Alex Ferguson's inability to replace Peter Schmeichel, a player Manchester United took six years to get over with the eventual arrival of Edwin van der Sar.

Mourinho doesn't need to go through Massimo Taibi, Andy Goram, Mark Bosnich, Raymond Van der Gouw and Fabien Barthez; Chelsea's next No. 1 is ready and waiting.

For the moment, anyway.