Real Madrid will reportedly target Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois this summer after missing out on Kepa Arrizabalaga, although Paris Saint-Germain are said to be ready to rival Los Blancos for the stopper.
Kepa agreed a new contract with Athletic Bilbao on Monday, per the club's official Twitter account, putting an end to speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid.
As a result, Sky Sports' Guillem Balague has suggested the Spanish and European champions will focus on getting a deal done for Courtois at the end of the campaign. However, there are said to be other offers on the table for the Belgium international.
"Courtois has a choice to make: PSG, Real Madrid or renewing at Chelsea," it's noted. "Any of these three options would make him the best-paid goalkeeper in the world. The only thing right now is that PSG have done more of the preliminary work, and Real are coming late to the table."
Balague noted that Courtois will only move at the end of this season, although he wants clarity on his future quickly. The 25-year-old's deal at Stamford Bridge runs until the summer of 2019.
"Courtois wants to go back to Madrid because a lot of his family are there, and even though PSG were ahead, Real have gone very strong in the last few hours to try to convince him to move to the Bernabeu," Balague continued.
As we can see courtesy of Het Laatste Nieuws' Kristof Terreur, Courtois has previously been optimistic about signing a new contract at Chelsea:
If the Blues were to lose the Belgian, it'd be a major blow to the team, as there aren't many goalkeepers in the game as good as Courtois.
The Chelsea man is still relatively young and still makes mistakes, but Courtois compensates with some exceptional work. He's a stunning shot stopper, is sharp off his line and dominates under the high ball.
The end result is Chelsea having one of the best defences in the Premier League, as these numbers from WhoScored.com illustrate:
Madrid have a decent option in Keylor Navas, who has been a key man in their recent successes. However, this term his standards have slipped, and it would be no surprise to see Real seek to upgrade in the summer.
Their pursuit of Kepa was understandable, as he would've been a fine long-term solution, as OptaJose noted:
PSG would also benefit from a world-class stopper between the sticks. Their current first choice is Alphonse Areola, and while the Frenchman has made few glaring errors, plenty remain undecided as to whether he's at the standard required for the Parisians.
Chelsea will be hopeful Courtois agrees a long-term deal and remains at the Bridge for the best years of his career. With Kepa now off the table for Madrid and PSG also said to be monitoring the situation, there should be increased urgency behind the scenes for the Blues to get the 'keeper signed up.