Chelsea youngster Thibaut Courtois has refused to rule out a permanent move to Atletico Madrid after World Cup but admitted it is a possibility.
Courtois has been on loan at the Vicente Calderon since he was bought by the Stamford Bridge club from Genk in 2011 and has become regarded as one of the most promising young goalkeepers in world football.
A number of reports this summer had suggested that Jose Mourinho had decided to instigate a change at the Blues and sell veteran number one Petr Cech before bringing Courtois in as the new first choice. However, it has also also been suggested that the Belgium international is inclined to stay in Spain and agree a permanent transfer with Atleti.
Now the player himself has admitted he could well leave Chelsea this summer to remain in Spain, but warned it would not be a straightforward move and that nothing would happen until after the World Cup.
"Atletico are not ruled out. It's difficult, but not ruled out," he is quoted as saying by Spanish publication Marca.
"We're at the World Cup at the moment and when it ends we'll talk and see how it works out."
These comments must be a worry for Mourinho and he must do all he can to assure Courtois of his future at Chelsea and do all he can to convince the 22-year-old that he will be best served by making Stamford Bridge the scene for the next stage in his career.
It is not difficult to see why Courtois is tempted to stay in Spain after the season Alteico have had under manager Diego Simeone, where they unexpectedly, though magnificently, beat their richer, more illustrious rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona to the Primera Division title.
They were also a mater of a couple of injury time minutes away from completing an astounding La Liga and Champions League double, but a Sergio Ramos header took it to extra time and city rivals Real Madrid had the strength to see it out and win La Decima.
Staying at a club that challenged for every trophy it took part in the previous season would make sense, but Atletico's success could be the catalyst for what sees them drop back down to being the third team, or lower, in Spain.
Chelsea are already signing their top goalscorer from last season, Diego Costa, and have also been linked with a bid for one of their outstanding and most consistent performers from last season, Brazilian left-back Filipe Luis.
Most people would like to see underdogs like Atletico make their arrival at the top table of European football permanent, but that is rarely the case in these instances as money talks and they do not have enough of it to compete with clubs such as Chelsea.
Courtois has already proved he is a top class talent in one of Europe's leading leagues, in the Champions League and on the international stage; Mourinho cannot afford to lose such a huge talent, so while letting Cech go is a difficult decision, it is the correct one.
Likewise, Courtois must be made to see that integrating himself into a young and extremely talented Blues squad is likely to bring him a great deal of success - just ask Petr Cech.
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