With young Thibault Courtois not only earning plaudits but also interest from sides like Barcelona for his performances in Spain, Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech should be nervously looking over his shoulder.
After David de Gea’s absence, Courtois - who is currently on loan at Atletico Madrid from the Blues - has filled his former number 13 jersey with more than capable hands, making 84 appearances for them over two seasons and conceding in just under half of those games.
With transfer rumours speculating about his future on almost weekly basis and Courtois himself saying that he wants to play for a team in which he is starting matches, where the Belgium international will end up plying his trade next season is of huge debate.
Atletico are keen to keep him for a third season, but there are two underlying problems with this. Firstly, as this would be his third season in Spain, he may become too ingrained in the team and Spanish culture and may either seek a permanent move to Atletico or take notice of the interest from Barcelona.
Secondly, highlighting the problems De Gea has had in adapting to the English game, a loan to a English team seems ideal, where he can learn the physicality of the Premier League and get on the radar of the British public.
The Sun have linked him with moves to Wigan Athletic, Southampton and Fulham - all teams where he can get valuable experience and begin his quest to start challenging Cech for the Chelsea No. 1 jersey.
Despite this, Cech is doing much to assert himself as Chelsea’s first-choice 'keeper, with his save against Manchester United in the FA Cup drawing critical acclaim, not least from Sir Alex Ferguson.
It’s hard to see a decline in his performances, especially as 'keepers get better with experience. However, I feel it’s all down to Courtois.
Abramovich has made his over 30-year-old policy clear with only offering players over 30 one-year deals, and with a new generation of young Chelsea players coming through and replacing ageing stars such as Lampard and Cole, a new invigorated fresh face in goal may be just what Abramovich wants.
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