When Chelsea signed 18 year old Thibaut Courtois in 2011, he was a mere prospect and probably not even on the radar of long-term Blues number 1 Petr Cech. 3 years later and his loan spell in Spain have seen Courtois rack up 140 appearances for Atletico Madrid, and become a crucial element in their recent success. This success has led to Chelsea offering him a 5 year deal and a guarantee of first team football upon his return to the club next year. The fact that Cech’s recent form has been by no means poor is testament to the outstanding performances that the 21 year old keeper has given for the Madrid based side.
Diego Simeone’s arrival at Atletico has resulted in their greatest season in years, challenging Real Madrid and Barcelona for La Liga title honours, and guiding them to a quarter-final berth against Barcelona in the Champions League. Courtois’ departure may be one of a host of dissections that any recently successful side is forced to endure. In the same fashion that Dortmund were forced to relinquish many of their top players after their break out performances in the Champions League last year, Simeone’s side is surely being heavily scouted by big-spending clubs around the globe.
Should he return to Stamford Bridge next season, Courtois will be comforted by the presence of his Belgian international team mate Eden Hazard. Other Chelsea owned Belgian loan players Thorgard Hazard (Eden’s younger brother) and Romelu Lukaku may also join Courtois in regular first team training next year.
His time in Spain has seen the 6 foot 6 Courtois amass an impressive record, with 15 clean sheets this season, and Man of the Match honours in Atletico’s domestic cup final victory over Real in 2013. While Cech might consider himself hard done by, the young Courtois is cause for further excitement among Chelsea fans, as Mourinho continues to build a young and powerful squad with an eye for the future.