Atletico Madrid have been given renewed hope that they can persuade Thibaut Courtois to spend another season in La Liga and are prepared to wait until mid-July for a decision on his future from Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, according to Spanish publication AS.
Courtois was nothing short of sensational for Atletico last season, proving a pivotal figure in a shock La Liga success for Los Rojiblancos during his third campaign on loan in La Liga.
The 22-year-old was widely expected to return to Chelsea and fight Petr Cech for a starting spot at Stamford Bridge next season, but the goalposts have shifted on that front thanks to a number of new developments.
First of all Chelsea's first-choice stopper Cech is ahead of schedule in his bid to recover from shoulder surgery, expected to be ready for a return to full training towards the end of July.
That improvement puts him on a direct collision course with Cech for the number one spot from the first day of pre-season training, something the Belgian starlet fears will leave him sidelined and unable to improve on a fantastic development which sees him quite rightly regarded as one of the world's top young stoppers.
Atletico had begun the search for a new keeper to replace Courtois, with their top target Argentine prospect Geronimo Rulli, but that deal is very much off the table after the 22-year-old's registration was recently purchased by third-party owners.
Diego Simeone's side have watched Mourinho bide his time over a decision and make moves to hand reserve keeeprs Jamal Blackman and Mark Schwarzer new deals, enough ammunition to make Atletico believe they have a realistic chance of getting Courtois back.
The handbrake is very much on any talks thanks to his involvement at the World Cup finals, but expect this transfer saga to run and run until Mourinho makes up his mind over who deserves to be his main man in between the posts next season.
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