It's a dilemma most clubs would love to have: Chelsea have both Petr Cech (age 30) and Thibaut Courtois (age 20) on their books, but eventually one has to give.
Courtois has been on loan at Atletico Madrid for the past two seasons, where by all accounts he has been impressive, obtaining and retaining the 'first-choice' goalkeeper role at a top side.
Meanwhile, over the past two seasons, Cech has shown why he should still be classed among the world's top keepers, being instrumental in the Blues' Champions League campaign last year.
With Courtois being 10 years younger than Cech and right at the start of his senior career, one would think that Chelsea should simply go for the younger option, since he will only improve on his already high standards. However, it's not that simple, since goalkeepers often reach their prime in their mid-30's, so Cech could also arguably get better.
Furthermore, Cech has been first-choice goalkeeper at the club for the past eight years and has captained the side more than ever this season, with Frank Lampard and John Terry gradually being phased out. Therefore, such a presence in the dressing room could be sorely missed, so cannot simply be left out to dry in the reserves (in a similar manner to Florent Malouda).
Matters become even more complicated and delicate when you take into account that Thibaut Courtois wants to 'play in a team where [he] will be on the pitch and not on the bench': clearly stating that if Chelsea recall him he expects to hold the number one spot.
With interest in Courtois from the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea would feel well-advised to establish Courtois at the club so that he does not get disillusioned with the West London outfit, and not send him out on loan for a third season.
With three years remaining on Cech's contract, he will either have to be sold, which is unlikely, or one could invasive having both goalies at the club and simply easing Courtois into the first-choice place. A very similar example of this is at Tottenham this season, who signed the youthful Hugo Lloris despite the experienced Brad Friedel not having done anything to warrant being dropped.
Despite some teething troubles at the start, Lloris has now cemented his place in the first-team, with Friedel playing most cup matches and a few in the League. The only main difference between the two London clubs' goalkeeping problems is that Friedel is considerable older than Cech, so resigned to soon retiring or falling down the pecking order, whereas the Czech international will think he still has a lot to offer and probably won't accept being demoted to the bench.
If Chelsea do remain committed to rejuvenating their ageing squad, the sensible option would seem to help Courtois into his desired first-team role and possibly sell Petr Cech. However, such a loyal servant to the club should not really be treated in that manner, and in losing Cech Chelsea would lose a lot of experience and one of the spine of their team. Luckily, the problem lies not with us but with the management.
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