Football

Chelsea manager must ditch Cech for Courtois

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Jose Mourinho finds himself a curiously tricky yet enviable situation at Chelsea.

Having originally arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2004, Mourinho inherited the signing of a 22-year-old Petr Cech, then considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

A deal had been agreed with his club Rennes before The Special One even considered leaving Porto, giving him a boost in his bid to bring instant success to the club.

Mourinho showed no sympathy for the long-standing Chelsea No.1 Carlo Cudicini, who was immediately dropped to the bench in favour of the promising youngster.

The gamble paid off as Cech has been one of, if not the, best goalkeeper in the Premier League since his arrival.

But upon his second-coming in west London, Mourinho has been hit with a similar situation.

Cech remains the Chelsea No.1 between the sticks and has stormed in to the Chelsea Hall of Fame with his consistent performances helping the Blues to three Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy to boot.

But there is a storm approaching.

The 21-year-old Thibaut Courtois, bought from Genk in 2011, is looking to finally make his first appearance for Chelsea having spent the last three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid.

During that time Courtois has barged in to the international set up with Belgium and claimed a Zamora Trophy for the best fewest goals conceded record in La Liga and the LFP Best Goalkeeper award.

Courting interest from all over Europe, including from Barcelona, Chelsea can't possibly keep him on the bench next season while also keeping him happy.

Courtois himself has stated that he has no intention of sitting on the Chelsea bench and would rather leave the club on another loan deal or on a permanent basis.

For Mourinho, it's a tough ask. He owes a lot to the terrific Cech, who has been a great servant for Chelsea and Mourinho himself. But if the manager wants to keep Chelsea at the top, he'll have to be ruthless and drop Cech, potentially losing him to another club in the process.

At 31, Cech is hardly a blunt tool and for any other goalkeeper you would say he was approaching his prime years. But he has been around for longer than most having reached the top much earlier than most of his peers.

Courtois has started his career off even more spectacularly than Cech did and has the chance to be one of the best 'keepers of his generation and, more importantly, better than Cech.

It's going to take a ruthless man to cut Cech out of this Chelsea team but, like the great Sir Alex Ferguson always exemplified, loyalty can cause nothing but trouble.

Ferguson kept Manchester United at the top for 27 years despite selling David Beckham in his prime and releasing Roy Keane while still in his prime.

Those tough decisions seemed hard to take for the Old Trafford faithful at the time but Ferguson always came up with another Premier League title at the end of it.

Taking the compassion out of play, Courtois should be Chelsea's No.1 now with Cech either out of the club or on the bench.

Mourinho must prove he is a top manager in Ferguson's bracket and, sometimes, like now, that means taking decisions that the fans may not agree with.

If selling and/or dropping Cech means keeping one of the best young goalkeepers at the club for the foreseeable future, it'll be a decision worth making.

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Topics:
Premier League
Chelsea
Football

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