Chelsea Transfer News: Thibaut Courtois Contract Talks Amid Real Madrid Rumours

Matt Jones@@MattJFootballFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2017

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea celebrates after  the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Chelsea at Vitality Stadium on April 8, 2017 in Bournemouth, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Chelsea have reportedly opened negotiations with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois over a new contract, with Real Madrid said to be interested in snapping up the Belgium international. 

According to Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph, the La Liga giants are on the hunt for a new goalkeeper this summer and have isolated Courtois as a possible target. As a result, the Blues are keen on extending the stopper's deal beyond its current 2019 expiry date.

In the piece it's noted that Madrid are also admirers of Manchester United man David De Gea, whom they came close to signing in 2015. The Red Devils star is said to earn around £200,000-a-week, something that may influence the Blues' negotiations with their man.

"The Belgium goalkeeper currently earns £100,000-a-week at Stamford Bridge, which is around half of what De Gea is paid by United and the Spaniard is likely to be given a rise if he joins Real," Law said. "Chelsea will, therefore, need to pay Courtois well over £150,000-a-week to tie him down to a new deal, and the 25-year-old may want to be sure of Real's intentions before committing himself."

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Still, according to Kristof Terreur of Het Laatste Nieuws, the Blues have yet to officially offer the goalkeeper a new deal.

During the 2015-16 term Courtois, like a lot of Chelsea players, suffered a drastic loss of form, and there were some concerns about him going on to reach his potential. But under Antonio Conte, he's been back to his best again.

The rangy goalkeeper has helped the Blues build an impressive defensive record this season. Courtois has been a commanding presence at the base of the team, plucking crosses out of the air, excelling in one-on-one situations and distributing with calmness.

His shot-stopping is outstanding, too, as Courtois is so often on hand to paw out potentially goal-bound shots. Per, his clean-sheet record speaks for itself:

It's imperative Chelsea keep Courtois on board. Although there are still some inconsistencies to his game, often Blues supporters take for granted the fact they have one of the world's best goalkeepers to call upon. If he was to move on at the end of the campaign, he'd be a difficult man to replace.

Conte has helped Courtois find his best again.
Conte has helped Courtois find his best again.Michael Regan/Getty Images

Real Madrid are a tempting proposition, though, and an undeniable step up, even from a club like Chelsea. Should Los Blancos decide Courtois is the man they want in goal next season, there'd be a temptation on the 'keeper's part to hear them out.

Still, there shouldn't be a rush to leave Stamford Bridge. After a season of disappointment, this term has seen the Blues reestablish their place at the summit of English football, and Conte will be desperate for them to make an impact in the UEFA Champions League next season. Losing their star goalkeeper would be a setback for those aspirations.