Chelsea may be set to lose out on the talents of Thibaut Courtois after Jose Mourinho gave Petr Cech his full backing to remain Chelsea's No. 1 goalkeeper.
The Daily Star's Gary Jones reports the Blues boss saying Czech stalwart Cech will continue to break records at Stamford Bridge after surpassing Peter Bonetti's feat of 208 clean sheets for the West London outfit in the 2-0 win over Hull City on Saturday, Jan. 11:
Petr is almost 10 years playing at the top and there has been clean sheet after clean sheet. At this moment he beats the record of Mr Bonetti but I think probably next year he will beat the record of the Premier League.
He becomes a historic figure in the Premier League because all his career has been here since 2004. Also playing with Chelsea he has a lot of appearances and the best stage for a goalkeeper I think is between 30 and 35.
Belgian stopper Courtois has spent the last two-and-a-half seasons on loan with Atletico Madrid, and has perhaps developed even faster than the Blues would have projected.
Quickly rising to become Los Rojiblancos' first-choice figure in between the sticks, the 21-year-old now feels the time is right to barter for top spot at Chelsea and, as Jones indicates, is seeking assurances from Mourinho if he's to remain a Chelsea player:
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.
It's a healthy dilemma for the Premier League giants to face.
Who should get Chelsea's No. 1 jersey?
Mourinho is right in placing his faith in Cech, a player who reigned so dominantly during his first stint as Chelsea manager. However, Courtois arguably represents the future.
According to Transfermarkt.co.uk, Cech has kept eight clean sheets in 21 league appearances this term, while Courtois' tally stands at 10 clean sheets in 19 league outings for Atletico.
Squawka shows that Atleti's defence has forced Courtois into making an average of 1.58 saves per game, while Cech has been slightly more comfortable at a ratio of just 1.24.
WhoScored.com's Ben McAleer recently argued why Chelsea must stick with their current stalwart and not opt for change this summer:
Cech's reputation at Stamford Bridge is among the finest at the club right now, and one can understand why Chelsea wouldn't want to end that journey at this time, just as Mourinho makes his return to the English top flight.
The veteran has won Champions League, Europa League and Premier League crowns with the Blues, and remains one of the most reliable keepers in England.
However, juggling the demands of two such talented figures is a near-impossible feat when only one place is up for grabs.
The Fulham Chronicle's Dan Levene praised Cech's latest achievement as a Blues veteran:
Petr Cech: 209 CFC clean sheets. Eclipses Bonetti, who kept 208 in roughly twice the time. Can we now agree Big Pete is a Chelsea 'legend'?— Dan Levene (@BluesChronicle) January 11, 2014
Mourinho appears to be content to stick with Cech, who certainly shows no signs of decline at this stage in his career. If that is the case, Chelsea will likely have to sell Courtois unless they stand in the way of the player's progress.
The youngster has another five months to run on his third loan spell at the Vicente Calderon. A big decision looms over his future this summer, and the chances of a Chelsea debut don't look any closer despite his outstanding form in Spain.