Racing Genk goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has emerged as a surprise summer transfer target for Chelsea.
According to The Sun, the 19-year-old Belgian stopper is seen by new Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas as a long-term replacement for Petr Cech.
Currently under contract until June 2014, Genk will be in no rush to sell Courtois to the Blues, but may be more inclined to consider an offer on the basis that Chelsea will loan him back for another season.
However Villas-Boas faces competition from Spain for the highly-rated keeper in the form of Atletico Madrid, who are on the search for a replacement for David de Gea after the Spanish starlet joined Manchester United.
Atletico coach Gregorio Manzano confirmed, "There are positions where we have problems and one of them is in goal," he told AS.
"If something bad happened we would be in trouble and so we want to strengthen in that area.
"(Thibaut) Courtois hasn't been ruled out although it is complicated as Chelsea are also involved."
Rated at around £9million, Courtois could become Chelsea’s first summer arrival at Stamford Bridge providing they can fight off interest from La Liga.
Villas-Boas will put an emphasis on signing up and coming youngsters after former Chelsea sporting director Frank Arnesen began raiding the Blues academy after signing for new club Hamburg.
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