Petr Cech may be close to leaving Chelsea after being left disappointed by Jose Mourinho's treatment of him in the wake of Thibaut Courtois' confirmation as the club's No. 1 goalkeeper.
John Cross of the Mirror says that despite Mourinho's claims that he discussed the matter with Cech, the Portuguese boss actually gave the player the "silent treatment" over the decision.
Cross writes that Courtois only learned of his inclusion at Burnley one hour before kick-off, with Cech left hugely disappointed by the decision and being "left in the dark."
Courtois spoke about his own delight in being named first choice after Chelsea's Premier League opener, per Cross, but added he would have departed Stamford Bridge if he had been overlooked:
I know that Petr is a great goalkeeper, so there is a lot competition. But when you come back from a successful loan, you hope to play. Otherwise, it would maybe have been better for me to go to another team.
It’s nice that he put faith in me and it’s for me now to prove his faith is right. I need to work hard in every training session and game to gain the confidence of my team-mates and the manager.
Courtois also aimed a dig at Chelsea's rivals, particularly the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, saying that if they still need to make signings at this point of the season, they "have problems," per Chris McKenna of the Daily Star:
It is good when you have your team done before the league starts. It is important that everyone knows how you plays and you are ready good. If you need to make a transfer at this moment now then you have problems obviously.
Sami Mokbel of MailOnline writes that Cech will now demand assurances about his position at Chelsea, especially with Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco both waiting in the wings to swoop for his signature.
Mokbel says Cech wishes to know if he has any chance of recapturing his place in the team or whether he is now viewed solely as a reserve.
The Times' Oliver Kay believes Cech will stay this season and fight for his place if Mourinho indicates there is an opportunity for him to do so.
But he also confirms the goalkeeper's agent has spoken on the issue and says Chelsea must treat his client "with respect."
The 32-year-old Cech has been the Blues' No. 1 for 10 years now and featured heavily last season on Mourinho's return to the Bridge.
He played in 34 of the team's Premier League matches, per WhoScored.com, but Courtois was earning himself an exceptional reputation in La Liga with his loan club, Atletico Madrid.
It is unsurprising that Mourinho has chosen the young Belgium international ahead of Cech. Courtois is the future of the club and is already considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world despite his Chelsea career only just beginning.
He must show faith in Courtois over the next year and cannot do that by giving him extended periods on the bench. It is unlikely Cech will ever reclaim his place in Mourinho's starting line-up, and his departure may occur in the next couple of weeks.
Cech is far too good to be a reserve goalkeeper, but he cannot deny Courtois his rightful place.