There have been endless debates over the future of Chelsea on loan goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois since he signed in 2011. The young Belgian was signed by Chelsea for the future – to replace first choice Petr Cech at some point. What Chelsea didn’t know at that point is that Courtois was already at a high level. While Chelsea have been using the loan programme well [not that most players return to become part of the first team], the Courtois situation has taken a slight detour from status quo.
Courtois present Chelsea with a very difficult problem. He’s not some player that will come back on loan to sit on the bench. Neither will he be ready to take a substandard treatment. He is a proven goalkeeper that has rubbed shoulders with the best players in one of the top 3 leagues in the world. The Courtois case is clearly a very sensitive matter for Chelsea.
The impressive goalkeeper was key to Atletico’s record breaking season. The Madrid-based club followed up their King’s cup win in 2013 with La Liga glory this year [for the first time since 1996]. Big performances from Thibaut Courtois were very essential in the defining games. Was it the games where he was up against Lionel Messi? Or the ones against Cristiano Ronaldo? He has singlehandedly dragged Atletico out of tight situations.
Courtois claimed the Zamora trophy for the second consecutive season after he conceded the fewest goals in the league for the second year running. That’s another testament to how far Courtois have come. In the just concluded season the big goalkeeper played 37 games out of 38 possible games. In those 37 games, he recorded 20 clean sheets, made a save from a penalty kick, averaged 1.89 saves per game with an average of 0.65 goals conceded per game. The Chelsea chiefs will be insane to let this kid go.
He still has a contract with Chelsea so the club can bring him back for next season. But in fairness to the Belgian he can’t come back from a huge stage in Madrid to come and warm the bench in West London, so how do we solve the problem?
There are three things that can happen; (a) he signs a new contract and goes back on loan (b) he comes back to Chelsea and Mourinho rotates him with Cech. (c) Sell Cech and bring back Courtois.
New Contract and Loan option
This option will probably suit the player better. It has been suggested by most sources that this might likely happen. The main fact is that Petr Cech still has like 3-4 years at the top which continues to be the major obstacle to the future of Courtois. Chelsea can persuade the young goalkeeper to sign a new long-term deal and then offer him the chance to go back on loan for the next 1 or 2 years.
This will calm the nerves of many people about the matter as it will mean that the club won’t have a problem in the goalkeeping department for years to come.
Chelsea can equally bring him back to the bridge so that he can compete with Petr Cech, in this case, Mourinho will have to get him at least 25 games for it to really work. Maybe he will have an arrangement similar to what they do at Real Madrid. At Real Madrid, they have two good goalkeepers; Iker Casillas and Diego Lopez. Casillas plays all the cup games and the Champions League while Lopez plays in La Liga. Mourinho could do something like this.
The rotation arrangement will prepare Courtois for the future and familiarize him with Chelsea the more. He will pick one or two things under one of the finest goalkeepers the Premier League have ever seen, Petr Cech. For Chelsea it will be a good option because it gives the coach options and solidifies the squad.
The sale of Petr Cech can solve the problem also. This solution will definitely not be popular among the Chelsea faithful but it’s an option. Mourinho is proven over and over again that he’s not afraid to make the tough decisions. It won’t be surprising if we wake up one day and Cech is gone.
It is clear that Thibaut Courtoisis the future. The sale of a 32-year-old Petr Cech might not be a bad idea. It means the club will have Courtois back and still make good money off Cech.
Assessing at the three options, the first one looks like the most feasible one. Chelsea must not let him go because he is a rare talent and he has a huge future ahead of him.
[Stats via onefootball]
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