With the future of Chelsea's No.1 spot currently up in the air, Jose Mourinho has a very difficult decision to make at Stamford Bridge: Petr Cech or Thibaut Courtois?
Courtois has been at Chelsea since 2011, but was immediately loaned out to Atletico Madrid and has spent the past two and a half years carving out a reputation for himself in Spain.
He is widely regarded as the best young goalkeeper in Europe, if not the world, earning rave reviews from every avenue. At only 21, he is undoubted first choice at Atletico and is keeping Simon Mignolet out of the Belgian national team. Mourinho will also be very familiar with him, seeing him from across the city from his time in charge of Real Madrid.
Petr Cech on the other hand needs absolutely no introduction. Over 450 games for Chelsea, with a club record of 209 clean sheets, and 105 caps for the Czech Republic make him an icon of the modern game.
Many forget that Cech is only 31 as he is in his 10th year at Chelsea and has been an ever present figure between the sticks for the Blues throughout. He commands his area, and although more errors have crept into his game in recent years, nobody can argue that he isn't still one of the top 'keepers in the world.
In goalkeeper terms Cech is still a relative youngster. Peter Schmeichel, David Seaman and Edwin van der Sar all played until they were 40 at the top level and there is no reason to believe that Cech can't do the same. This is what makes the decision Mourinho has to make even harder.
If Cech was an outfield player, then the decision would be an easy one. Keep Courtois at the end of the season when his loan runs out and start introducing him to the first team next season at the expense of the elder, but with Cech only just over halfway through his career, how should Mourinho play it?
There is, of course, still an argument that Mourinho should do this to put pressure on Cech and eventually replace him, Courtois is contracted at Chelsea until 2016, with a rumoured three year option available, so time is still on the Special One's side.
The stats below are for this season and are nip and tuck between the pair, with Cech making more saves but Courtois keeping more clean sheets.
Courtois - 2013/14
16 Clean sheets
Cech - 2013/14
14 Clean sheets
It could be a very big decision for Mourinho, and one that he must get right.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: https://gms.to/1a2u3KU
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms