Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho confirmed that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois won't be going anywhere this summer.
"When the World Cup in Brazil is over, Courtois will be coming straight back to Stamford Bridge—end of story," he said to Spanish paper Marca, via Alex Harris of Express.
The 22-year-old moved to Stamford Bridge from Genk back in the summer of 2011 but has since spent the last three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid. During those three years, Courtois established himself as the most promising young goalkeeper in the world. He played a large role in Atletico's La Liga triumph and runner-up finish in the Champions League this year.
His talent is there for everyone to see, but his place in the Chelsea starting XI has so far been blocked by Petr Cech. As BBC 606 posited on Twitter, if Courtois does in fact stay at Chelsea for next season, you have to wonder how Cech will be handled:
Speaking to the Daily Mirror's Julian Bennetts, Courtois made it clear that he expects to wear the No. 1 shirt no matter where he's playing:
When will I know about my future? It will be after the World Cup I think, then everything will be clear. I spoke to him (Mourinho) in May, before the game against Barcelona. In the week he discussed with me what he thinks about me and about everything. That is it. Do I want to number one wherever I play next season? Yes, I think with my age and the performances I had I want to play. To be on the bench is not the nicest thing.
It wouldn't make much sense to keep the Belgian in London if he wasn't going to play regularly.
The beauty of holding onto Courtois is that Chelsea will have one of the top-five goalkeepers in the world for a cut-rate price. Jake Cohen, who specializes in the business of football, tracked how much money the Blues have been and will be on the hook for regarding the player:
As Thibaut Courtois will be at Chelsea this season, his annual FFP cost will increase from £400k to £3.1m. Money extremely well spent. #cfc— Jake Cohen (@JakeFCohen) June 15, 2014
Thibaut Courtois has cost Chelsea £2.8m total on FFP books since they purchased him. Might be worth ten times that today. #cfc— Jake Cohen (@JakeFCohen) June 15, 2014
There's certainly a changing of the guard going on at Chelsea. Didier Drogba left long ago, while Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole have been set for release this summer. Cech and John Terry are the only players who remain of what was considered the club's core set of players five or six years ago.
With Courtois coming in, Cech's first-team place is under serious threat. Mourinho showed with his handling of Iker Casillas at Real Madrid that he has no time for a player's past record. He won't be afraid to shuffle the Czech star out.
The future is very much now at Stamford Bridge.