Chelsea's Atletico Madrid loanee, Thibaut Courtois, is keeping Blues management on tenterhooks. What if he requests a permanent transfer to Atleti? In that scenario, Chelsea should consider replacing Courtois with Celta Vigo goalkeeper Yoel, so here is a scouting report on the 25-year-old Spaniard.
Courtois gave a peculiar response when asked about his future.
"I am not going to say if I will stay or not," Courtois said, per El Larguero (h/t ESPN). "What I will say is that next week I will announce my decision."
Ideally, the decision should be simple for Courtois: go back to Chelsea and beat out Petr Cech for the No. 1 spot.
PETR CECH EXCLUSIVE: Why I'm not afraid of Thibault Courtois taking my place at Chelsea http://t.co/JGKFCF9vsT— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) April 3, 2014
In reality, the decision is complicated because having started 104 La Liga games for Atleti, Courtois feels more connected to them than Chelsea, his parent club.
I see Chelsea calling Courtois back...— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) April 2, 2014
Courtois' relationship with Chelsea could be headed for a divorce if you are to read between the lines of his attention-seeking statement and then factor in his father making it clear Courtois would not be sitting on the Chelsea bench, per Marca (h/t talkSPORT).
Rather than keep an unhappy Courtois, Chelsea should sell him.
If Wolfsburg were willing to pay Chelsea £16.7 million for Kevin De Bruyne—per the Telegraph—who had no recent form at the time to justify the fee, Chelsea should strive to sell Courtois, a world-class goalkeeper, for £30 million-plus.
Courtois' war of words with compatriot and Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet (both want to be the Belgian No. 1 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup), per Sport/Foot Magazine (h/t Sky Sports), shows Courtois does not like competition.
Thibaut Courtois criticises Simon Mignolet for saying he wants to be Belgium's number 1, but says he wants to be number 1 at Chelsea.— John Chapman (@BelgoFoot) February 6, 2014
To Chelsea fans who want to keep Courtois, you know he will start running his mouth to BBC Sport, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, et al. when he sits on the bench for a prolonged period.
'Genk treated me as scum.' Losing a lot of respect for Courtois. Could be complimentary for Genk making you the keeper you are. But no.— The Belgian Waffle (@TheBelgianWffle) August 17, 2011
In that situation, it fosters a negative atmosphere in the dressing room and creates a sideshow that will become a talking point until there is a resolution.
Cech or Courtois? Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho needs to pick one and ditch the other.
If Chelsea part ways with Courtois, one suggested transfer target is Yoel from Celta.
Celta's defence has repeatedly broken apart throughout the season, only to be bailed out by Yoel, who has conjured up a myriad brilliant saves.
During Celta's 0-0 draw against Villarreal, Yoel denied Villarreal right winger Javier Aquino from point-blank range after he was teed up by Villarreal centre-forward Jonathan Pereira.
Real Betis right attacking midfielder Cedrick and centre-forward Jorge Molina were both in acres of space during Celta's 2-1 win over Betis.
They had no pressure, had time to set their shots and were still foiled by Yoel's reflexes.
Levante centre-forward David Barral was one-on-one with Yoel, who came out on top in Celta's 1-0 win over Levante.
Those four saves were game-changing moments for Celta.
Hoy, una vez más. San Yoel. pic.twitter.com/2SHVgKUE2f— NoticiasCelta.com (@noticiascelta) March 29, 2014
Yoel's best individual performance was during Celta's 2-1 defeat to Atleti.
He made 10 saves including an unbelievable double-save to thwart Atleti centre-forward Diego Costa from the penalty spot and then Atleti centre-forward David Villa on the follow-up.
Yoel made another world-class save by stopping Barca deep-lying forward Lionel Messi from scoring in Celta's 3-0 defeat to Barca.
Messi cut in from the right, created separation from Celta centre-back Gustavo Cabral and got off a shot destined for the back of the net.
Yoel may have conceded three that night, but he was five-for-five against Messi.
Así veía ayer Messi a Yoel: pic.twitter.com/CUs7F3maqX— Fer Caldas (@FerCaldas17) October 30, 2013
|Saves Per Goal Conceded||2.8||2.3|
|Source: Fox Soccer|
Yoel's saves per goal conceded and save percentage is in the ballpark of Courtois' world-class season, so it speaks volumes of how underrated Yoel is.
Manuel Almunia (Arsenal), Jose Pinto (Barca) and Richard Dutruel (Barca) all signed for major teams after playing for Celta, so Yoel could follow that trend (he should be aiming to be better than the aforementioned three keepers).
Courtois is going to kick up a fuss at Chelsea if things do not go his way, whereas Yoel could be a solid No. 2, who can deputise for Cech with the view of ascending to the No. 1 position.
Therein lies why Courtois is at a crossroads in his Chelsea career—he wants to be granted the No. 1 spot, as opposed to winning it from Cech.
Statistics via WhoScored.com