Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has decided that Thibaut Courtois will be his number one goalkeeper from the start of next season - and has subsequently put Petr Cech on the transfer list. The Portuguese coach is keen to avoid a repeat scenario of what happened at his former club Real Madrid, where long-serving ‘keeper Iker Casillas was dropped to the bench in favour of Diego Lopez, causing a huge amount of unrest at the Bernabeu.
This is according to well-connected Spanish newspaper Marca, who claim Atletico Madrid have reluctantly accepted Mourinho’s decision to bring back Courtois after he wooed the young Belgium international with two magic words: stater status. Courtois, despite arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2011, has not made a single appearance for his parent club, spending the last three years on loan with Atletico instead.
The 22-year-old was not interested in returning to Chelsea unless he was guaranteed first-team football next season with the west London outfit. And after another wonderful season, in which he played a pivotal role in helping Atletico win La Liga for the first time since 1996 and reach the Champions League final, Courtois has proved to Mourinho that he is more than ready to start for the Blues next term.
Courtois, who will start ahead of Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet for Belgium at next month’s World Cup finals in Brazil, has been La Liga’s standout ‘keeper for the last two season. In fact, some now believe he has cemented his status as the world’s best player in his position, ahead of Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer.
Unfortunately, though, Courtois’ return will spell the end of Cech’s tenure as a Chelsea player. The Czech Republic international has been linked with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal in recent weeks - and it looks increasingly likely that the 32-year-old will leave the Blues, after 10 years at the club, this summer.