Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has admitted the club are looking for a way to ensure that Thibaut Courtois remains at the Vicente Calderon past the end of this season.
The Belgian international will end his third successive loan spell in the Spanish capital at the end of the current campaign, but Spanish newspaper AS (h/t Goal.com's Enis Koylu) quotes the Atleti figure saying the La Liga giants are eager to extend his deal:
Courtois is an Atletico player until the end of the season. After that, we'll try to sign him if Chelsea want to. If he doesn't, we'll look for a formula that will see him continue at Atletico next year.
Courtois is yet to make an appearance for Chelsea despite being signed from Genk in 2011, instead impressing with Los Rojiblancos while Petr Cech has maintained his place as the Blues' No. 1 choice in goal.
It's of little wonder that Cerezo should confirm Atletico's interest in signing the stopper on a permanent deal, considering the 21-year-old has been an integral part of the team's rise back to Spanish and European prominence in recent seasons.
Squawka tweeted to show just the kind of superb performances that have highlighted the starlet's displays of late:
According to Transfermarkt, Courtois has made 100 La Liga appearances in total, keeping 49 clean sheets in the process, a very respectable ratio considering his time at the Vicente Calderon is the goalkeeper's first experience at an elite European side.
However, Cerezo is quick to back up that Atletico will only land their man should Chelsea be willing to sell, something which is far from guaranteed at this point.
Negotiations could also be affected by the fact that Atleti's fierce rivals Real Madrid are alleged to have entered the race for his services, per Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure (h/t Sky Sports). However, Courtois' father Thierry says the speculation is just to upset his son's current team:
It's an attempt to destabilise Atletico. There hasn't been any contact with Real. Our negotiations with Chelsea still have to start.
And Chelsea would never let him go that way, when his contract has expired. Thibaut is now focused on the season with Atletico and the Champions League.
Courtois' deal at Chelsea expires in 2016, so Chelsea aren't yet at a stage where they need to make a long-term decision on their stopper's involvement at Stamford Bridge.
The Telegraph's Matt Law recently reported Jose Mourinho saying that Courtois will be in West London next season:
That being said, the youngster is reaching a stage where his surprisingly high standards in Spain mean he now has more reason to throw his weight around in pursuit of a solution.
Atletico currently boast the best defence in La Liga, having kept 13 clean sheets in their 27 outings thus far in the 2013-14 term.
Courtois is a wanted man on both English and Spanish shores, it would seem, and this summer is the next juncture at which a new step in his career could be decided.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!