Jose Mourinho is currently facing a dilemma that most managers would dream of having, as he is lucky enough to have two world class goalkeepers on his squad. As Chelsea opened their 2014-15 Premier League campaign with 3-1 win over Burnley, Mourinho elected to start Thibaut Coutois in goal ahead of Petr Cech. The decision was absolutely the correct one, as Courtois is a decade younger and is the future of the club, and he is coming off a dominant season while on loan at Atletico Madrid.
Courtois didn’t disappoint in yesterday’s win, as he patrolled his box with confidence and was able to repeatedly snuff out crosses and set pieces with his height and athleticism. Courtois could do nothing about the goal, but he did save the only other shot Burnley was able to direct on goal. After the game, Mourinho made it clear that Courtois is the first choice goalkeeper, but he must continue to perform well to hold onto that role.
The decision to commit to Courtois leaves Chelsea in an interesting spot, as they now have a very valuable asset sitting on their bench in Cech. There are quite a few teams around the world that would view the Czech Republic star as a major upgrade to their goalkeeping situation, and it would not be at all surprising if Chelsea receives some significant interest over the final two weeks of the transfer window. Although money is little object for Chelsea, Cech is a very expensive reserve in terms of wages, and the money from his potential sale could be used to strengthen the squad in other areas, notably a pursuit of Sami Khedira or Medhi Benatia.
Mark Schwarzer proved a reliable backup last season, and there really is no reason for Chelsea to have a reserve goalkeeper of Cech’s prestige and price. It would seem that it is in the best interest of all parties to find a new club for Cech before the transfer window closes. Cech has been a magnificent player for the Blues for a long time, but like Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole before him, the time has come to go in a new (and younger) direction. Mourinho and Chelsea are right to commit to Courtois as their new first choice keeper, and now they must commit to selling their old one.