Belgian youngster Thibaut Courtois wants to know where he stands at Chelsea, and he wants to know soon. The 21-year-old goalkeeper has given the west London club until March to decide whether to make him the first-choice keeper next season or allow him to find a new home.
Courtois has been loaned out to Atletico Madrid for the past three seasons, and has matured into one of the best keepers in the world regardless of his age. He has helped the club win the Europa League and the UEFA Cup, and Atletico are currently tied with Barcelona for first place in La Liga.
The player has seeming grown tired of waiting for the Blues’ starting keeper Petr Cech to retire. Chelsea are developing him into a world-class talent abroad so that he can be seamlessly transitioned into the Blues’ starting 11 to replace the veteran when the time comes.
Understandably, Courtois is playing at a very high level and wants to be receiving the same amount of appreciation that his play warrants. It is understandable for a young and very talented player to want more, but it is now gotten to a point of arrogance.
It is not uncommon for budding stars to remain on loan for more than a year, and the only reason why he is still not the first choice is because Cech is still playing at a high level consistently. Many will say that the club legend is too old or has lost a step, but the fact is that management has kept him between the sticks for a reason, and that is his experience and class.
If his end-game is to engineer move to Atletico, then Courtois’ tough talk might end up backfiring. If the Chelsea’s brass do decide to let him leave – which is highly unlikely – his recent form would command a very high asking price, one that Atletico would be unable to afford. He would have many suitors, but very few with the same level of title ambition as Chelsea.
Most likely, Chelsea will keep Courtois on for next season and give him starts in the League and FA Cups, as well as the Champions League; meanwhile, Cech would handle the Premier League duties. This would transition Courtois into the starting role as smoothly as possible.
Will Courtois leave in the summer, or will Chelsea be able to hold on to their future star?