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Chelsea Transfer News: Claude Puel Shrugs Off Kasper Schmeichel Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJuly 22, 2018

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MARCH 10:  Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester City celebrates his side's first goal during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Leicester City at The Hawthorns on March 10, 2018 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Leicester City manager Claude Puel has talked down rumours linking goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel with a move to Chelsea despite the club recently signing Danny Ward from Liverpool.

Schmeichel has been associated with Chelsea as a replacement for possible departure Thibaut Courtois, but Puel told the media after Saturday's 4-1 friendly win over Notts County his No. 1 is wanted at the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes boss said: "Of course Kasper is a very important player for us. He had a very strong World Cup. We need Kasper, with his character, his performance and his consistency. There is no problem with this. There is a lot of speculation at this moment; it is normal."

Chelsea would first need to sell Courtois to alleged suitors Real Madrid for them to have any need of Schmeichel, but with less than a year remaining on the Belgian's contract, a departure this summer looks plausible.

Courtois' children live in Spain, and he formed a base in the capital when he spent three successive seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, which has no doubt played a factor in contract negotiations stalling in recent months.

MailOnline's Patrick Boyland mentioned Danny Ward's recent £12 million arrival at the club from Anfield as ignition to the rumours Schmeichel would be leaving, though his manager seems assured of his future with Leicester.

The Telegraph's John Percy confirmed as much prior to Ward completing his move, asserting the Welshman would be brought in to offer Schmeichel a bigger test for the No. 1 jersey:

John Percy @JPercyTelegraph

#lcfc have agreed a fee with Liverpool for goalkeeper Danny Ward. Coming in as competition for Kasper Schmeichel, not as a replacement. Ward set to meet with Leicester in next 24-48 hours #llfc

The 31-year-old helped Denmark reach the round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, where he saved an extra-time penalty in their defeat to Croatia. He also prevented two spot-kicks in the shootout.

It may have been Courtois who walked away from that tournament with the Golden Glove, but it was Schmeichel who outdid his peers in one significant field, per WhoScored.com:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Kasper Schmeichel: Boasted the best save success rate at the 2018 World Cup of goalkeepers that made 2+ appearances (89.5%) Full player statistics: https://t.co/vq0K2aSE0d https://t.co/t0g8V4WzhB

Leicester have already lost one of their headliners this summer after selling Riyad Mahrezto Manchester City, but replacing a top-class goalkeeper like Schmeichel could be an even greater task.

As long as Puel and the club remain staunch on their stance and Schmeichel doesn't mimic Mahrez in pursuing an exit, it appears Chelsea will have to return to the drawing board for a potential new No. 1.

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