Chelsea star Thibaut Courtois reportedly sits high on Real Madrid's wish list for this summer, and the latest rumours in the British press say he's open to a return to the Spanish capital.
According to the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel, Los Blancos will ignore Keylor Navas' sensational form and continue their hunt for another goalkeeper, and if they can't land Manchester United's David De Gea, Courtois would be their first alternative.
The report also claimed Courtois is happy in London, but he and his Spanish partner wouldn't say no to a return to La Liga―and a club likely to compete in next year's UEFA Champions League.
Courtois previously played for rivals Atletico Madrid, where he established himself as one of the world's best stoppers, as you can see below:
He celebrated a Premier League title in his first season back with his parent club, and his form in 2014-15 was so good the Blues felt confident enough to sell longtime starter Petr Cech to rivals Arsenal. Courtois has regressed in 2015-16, like most of his team-mates, but he still stands as one of the best stoppers on the planet.
He spoke out about the Blues' struggles during a recent interview, and when the quotes first surfaced he appeared to be aiming a shot at his defenders. However, according to Kristof Terreur of Het Laatste Nieuws, he tried to do the opposite:
Kristof Terreur 📰 @HLNinEngeland
Damage is done, but Thibaut Courtois never (literally) said he prefered Belgium's defence over Chelsea's. #cfc https://t.co/qxVzeRG6jk3/23/2016, 10:54:48 AM
Regardless, Courtois figures to play a big role in Chelsea's future, and the club will do everything possible not to lose him this summer. Mokbel wrote Chelsea are prepared to part with one of their biggest stars to finance a host of moves, but he pointed at Eden Hazard and Diego Costa as two players who are perhaps more likely to depart.
Real's determination to add a new goalkeeper seems odd, given the fantastic form Navas has displayed this season. The Costa Rican has arguably been their most consistent player, making a big impression on football writer Jonas Giaever:
Jonas Giæver @CheGiaevara
I'll throw it out there; having watched Keylor Navas this season I simply do not understand why Madrid would buy David de Gea.3/20/2016, 9:53:55 PM
WhoScored.com ranked the 29-year-old as its top goalkeeper in La Liga this season, and it's easy to see why. Navas has done everything possible to ensure he won't be replaced at the end of the season, and while the links with De Gea will persist, you have to assume Los Blancos feel confident about their current options.
As Spain's top goalkeeper, fresh rumours linking De Gea with the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu surface almost on a weekly basis, and Real president Florentino Perez still wants to bring him to the club, per Sport's Alejandro Alcazar:
Florentino Perez still wants David de Gea and the Manchester United goalkeeper is a target, although Jose Mourinho could block the departure if he takes over at Old Trafford. In any case, Navas' performances make it harder for Madrid to move for him.
[…] However, Florentino has doubts about Navas still. His marketing power is not strong. Only time and results will affect Florentino's agenda, and it should not be forgotten Madrid are waiting to see if they are suspended from signing in the summer.
But De Gea is Spanish, and signing him would be a headline-grabbing move that would sit well with the fans.
New Lionel Messi Rumours
According to Chris McKenna of the Daily Star, Barcelona star Lionel Messi would prefer a move to Manchester City over rivals Manchester United and Chelsea if he decides to leave La Liga for an English adventure.
The Ballon d'Or holder isn't expected to leave the Catalans, but if he does, there will likely be a long line of interested clubs looking to snap him up.
City, who will soon be managed by former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, always seemed the likeliest destination, but just about every top Premier League club has been linked with the Argentinian over the course of the last year.
The 28-year-old probably doesn't need an introduction―Messi has been scoring an absurd amount of goals for years:
Per WhoScored.com, he has already bagged 22 goals in La Liga this year, despite missing a number of matches due to injury.
He still has over two years left on his current deal, and Barcelona are preparing an extension that would see his wages increase dramatically, according to McKenna.