Thibaut Courtois is becoming tired of waiting when it comes to deciding which club he commits to for the foreseeable future, and he has handed Chelsea a March deadline.
Courtois is arguably the most highly rated young goalkeeper in European football, yet parent club Chelsea have opted to loan him to Atletico Madrid for the past three seasons.
It is a temporary situation Courtois no longer wants to accept. Speaking to AS, he warned that his future must be sorted within the next two months (via ESPN):
About my future, I cannot wait much longer. I need to make a decision with Chelsea as soon as possible, in March, but at the moment I do not really want to talk because there are so many games and you must be focused.
Atletico would dearly love to sign the keeper on a long-term basis, but his reputation is such that Courtois would now surely command a fee upwards of £15 million.
Whether the Madrid-based club are prepared to spend that figure remains to be seen. Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC has his doubts:
Courtois hoping for quick decision on his future, Atletico unlikely to be able to afford him, ball in Chelsea's court http://t.co/RouJjP2htW— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) January 9, 2014
Either way, the goalkeeper's future could easily be clarified by Chelsea.
Jose Mourinho is currently happy for the 21-year-old to gain valuable first-team experience while Petr Cech operates as Chelsea’s No. 1. However, Mourinho is smart enough to know that situation must change if Courtois’ long-term future is to be spent at Stamford Bridge.
Courtois has made 23 appearances across La Liga and the Champions League this term, per WhoScored, helping Atletico to join Barcelona at the top of their domestic league. They also appear strong contenders for European glory.
He has kept 11 clean sheets during those fixtures, per Soccerbase, and displays impressive command of his area for such a young goalkeeper.
Who should be Chelsea's No. 1 next season?
Courtois’ father recently said the keeper would not join Barcelona, according to Belgian paper Het Nieuwsblad (h/t Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN FC), with Marc-Andre ter Stegen expected to join the Catalan outfit instead.
However, the fact remains that while Courtois is locked in a tug of war between Chelsea and Atletico, he will struggle to attract any other potential suitors.
Chelsea most show a degree of fairness to the player by stating their position. If Cech is set to remain No. 1 beyond this season, Courtois can then make an informed decision on whether he should leave Stamford Bridge.