Chelsea Transfer News: Antonio Conte Talks Thibaut Courtois Exit Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2017

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28:  Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea and Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea shake hands after the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Chelsea at Vitality Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Bournemouth, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has called on the club to quickly resolve goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois' future amid continued links to Real Madrid.

Het Laatste Nieuws reported Los Blancos are one of three major European sides keeping an eye on the Belgium international; the others are Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain (h/t Football Espana).

With Courtois' contract with the Blues set to expire in 2019, Conte has said that while he doesn't get involved in renewals usually, this one needs to be sorted, per Kieran Gill of MailOnline.

"The renewal of the contract is a task for the club," he said. "As you know very well, if a big player decides to not sign a new contract, it is difficult for the club to try to face this issue. But at the same time there is space to deal with this type of situation and to try to solve the situation."

As HLN's Kristof Terreur relayed, Conte is a massive fan of the former Atletico Madrid loanee:

Per Gill, Real are keen to bring Courtois back to La Liga. He's said to be valued at around £70 million by the Premier League champions.

The Belgian has been a crucial figure at Stamford Bridge since Jose Mourinho introduced him into the first team in 2014.

Prior to that campaign Courtois had spent three seasons away on loan at Atletico, culminating in a league title win during the 2013-14 campaign. He's won a further two titles with Chelsea and was central to Conte's success during his first season at the club, 2016-17.

As we can see here, courtesy of WhoScored.com, the stopper was part of a watertight Chelsea defence on their way to top spot:

The 25-year-old is one of the standout goalkeepers in football, and the concern from Conte that he might be on his way is understandable.

Courtois has shown himself to be an incredible shot-stopper during his time in the Premier League. For such a tall man—the Belgian is 6'6"—he has consistently showcased incredible agility. And his height allows him to reach efforts on goal that few goalkeepers could.

Courtois has enjoyed a lot of success at Chelsea.
Courtois has enjoyed a lot of success at Chelsea.Michael Regan/Getty Images

There are other attributes that make him a special goalkeeper. Chelsea's defenders will enjoy playing ahead of him, as so often the Belgian is quick to take pressure off those in front of him with his excellent command of his penalty area.

Former Sunderland goalkeeper David Preece suggested the Blues man is the standout goalkeeper in the Premier League in such instances:

A torrid 2015-16 campaign meant some doubts about Courtois were implanted in the minds of Chelsea supporters, and his distribution sometimes prompts concern.

However, as Conte suggested, in the main the Belgian has proved himself to be one of the elite operators at his position. Losing him would be a massive blow to Chelsea, and if a new contract isn't agreed by the end of the campaign, worries would also intensify over potentially losing him for a cut-price amount.