Chelsea have become relentless in their quest to acquire young prospects in the last few years. One such acquisition was the gangly Belgian youngster Thibaut Courtois in 2011. Destined for bench time at Stamford Bridge, the Chelsea back room elected to send Courtois on loan to Spanish club Atletico Madrid. In the 3 years since his departure, he has made 140 appearances for Atletico, and has figured heavily in Diego Simeone’s plans this season.
With pundits suggesting that Courtois may go on to become one of the greatest goal keepers in the world, his stock is on the rise. Admiration has poured in from all quarters. Most recently,Barcelona president Sandro Rosell had the following to say:
“He is a great goalkeeper, he is very good and I like him a lot.
“Up until the last moment we will try to keep Valdes at Barca, but it will be difficult.”
Given that such praise is generally a preamble to contract offers, Chelsea may well be in for a fight if they want to retain the services of the young Belgian.
Barcelona keeper and one-club man Victor Valdes has made almost 400 appearances for the Spanish giants since 2002, and is now 32 years old. Hardly past it as far as keepers go, but Rosell’s comments may indicate that they themselves are facing competition in extending Valdes’ contract.
Meanwhile at Chelsea, Petr Cech continues to perform well between the posts, but if Mourinho has an eye for the future, he will soon need to decide whether it’s worth losing the prospect, Courtois, in favour of getting a few more years out of the veteran, Cech.