Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has conceded that he won't be surprised if Petr Cech demands a transfer in January, because he'd move on if he were in the Czech stopper's situation.
Courtois has dethroned Cech as Chelsea number one this season and the brilliant Belgian's consistent form means that position is unlikely to change anytime soon.
Cech is nothing short of a living Chelsea legend and has won virtually every major prize during more than a decade at Stamford Bridge, but Courtois won't be surprised in the slightest if he moves on in search of regular first-team football elsewhere.
Courtois full of praise for rival Cech
In an interview with Sky Sports the 22-year-old spoke about Cech's difficult dilemma, declaring: “As a goalkeeper you want to play. If I was in that situation where I didn’t play a lot, then I would leave too.
“I think Petr is still a goalkeeper with a lot of quality and one of the best there is."
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No shortage of suitors for a top goalkeeper
Blues boss Jose Mourinho is desperate to persuade Cech that to stay until at least the end of the season and help Chelsea chase trophies on four fronts, but a paltry four stars in all competitions may well force the 32-year-old's hand.
Roma, Real Madrid and something of a new Chelsea feeder club in Besiktas are all serious interested in a proven world-class goalkeeper, even considering his current £100,000-a-week pay packet.
Cech for his part has remained professional and couldn't have been more emphatic about who will decide where he plays in 2015, insisting: “It is simple. If the club says, ‘You are staying here’, then I will be staying. That’s why I’m staying. I can only leave if the club lets me go. And that is not the case.
Mourinho has to make the call
That stance and refusal to grumble over a reduced role means the ball is very much in Mourinho's court, which is perhaps why Cech was given the opportunity to start last week's Champions League clash with Maribor.
Feeding on scraps of games of reduced importance won't keep Cech happy for long though, which leaves Mourinho with a tough choice to make.
Should he increase Cech's workload with Chelsea planning to play every three days in big matches at the business end of the campaign, or run the risk of the veteran deciding its time for a fresh challenge in the middle of the season?
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