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Real Madrid Reportedly Intensify Thibaut Courtois Pursuit in Latest Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea celebrates at the end of the Emirates FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on May 19, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Real Madrid are reportedly ready to make Thibaut Courtois their starting goalkeeper next season amid speculation they will step up their pursuit of the Chelsea man in the coming days. 

According to David G. Medina of Marca, Los Blancos view Courtois as an upgrade on current starter Keylor Navas, despite the latter being at the base of the side for their three UEFA Champions League successes in a row. The club are willing to place "total trust" in the Belgian.

Meanwhile, Medina also reported that the European champions are hopeful of getting a deal completed for the Belgium international quickly, noting the club's "search for a new goalkeeper could be reaching an unexpected but immediate end" with the signing of Courtois.

As relayed by Sport Witness, Marca reported the deal may be done soon:

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

Marca: Courtois to Madrid is ‘more than close’, announcement possible in ‘coming days’. https://t.co/iwuDE4Ajb4 #cfc https://t.co/G2boUEioUL

However, Kristof Terreur of Het Laatste Nieuws suggested Madrid may not be quite so close to getting the transfer completed as has been reported:

Kristof Terreur 📰 @HLNinEngeland

Only mention in the story on Hazard and Courtois: ✅ Chelsea not likely to sell Hazard and planning to ask a world record fee ✅ Real and Chelsea have been in touch over Courtois, but Real still haven’t pushed to sign the goalkeeper Long live Google Translate. #cfc #bel

It's suggested by Medina that with just one year remaining on his contract at Chelsea the Blues are ready to accept a bargain €35 million (£31 million).

Courtois was part of the Belgium side that finished in third position at the 2018 FIFA World Cup recently in Russia. Having impressed throughout the tournament, he spoke about his position at Chelsea, per Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.

"In this World Cup, I have ignored all the speculation, all the rumours," said the stopper. "But now in the next few days I will have a chat with my agent and see what Chelsea told him, and then we will talk. But I feel happy at Chelsea, it's not that I necessarily want to leave."

Belgium's goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (C) attends a press conference at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi on June 14, 2018, on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group G football match between Belgium and Panama. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)        (
ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

The fact Courtois has not signed an extension with the Blues does feel ominous, though, and the prospect of interest from the European champions would surely be difficult to turn down. 

The Chelsea man was excellent at the recent World Cup, too, beating some star goalkeepers to the Golden Glove award:

B/R Football @brfootball

Thibaut Courtois wins the #WorldCup Golden Glove Elite company 🇧🇪 https://t.co/aPZvCAvADQ

These figures sum up just how well he performed in the tournament:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Team of the 2018 #WorldCup Goalkeeper: @thibautcourtois #BEL by @_WrightJosh https://t.co/X9g2pb4gC6 https://t.co/GczUcZhON9

Since he was entrusted with the starting spot at Chelsea in 2014-15, Courtois has blossomed as a goalkeeper, helping the team win two Premier League titles in his time at the club.

The 26-year-old is a commanding presence in his penalty area, providing a rock-solid presence under the high ball. His huge frame allows him to make numerous outstanding saves, while Courtois is also exceptional in one-on-one situations.

Given his age and his familiarity with Madrid—Courtois spent three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, where he shone—there's little doubt the Belgian would be a solid acquisition for Real. For new Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui, the sooner this one gets over the line and the 'keeper is integrated into the setup, the better.

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