Thibaut Courtois has revealed he will discuss his future with Chelsea in the next week, but again intimated that he would not return to Stamford Bridge if it means sharing time with Petr Cech.
The 22-year-old has spent three years on loan at Atletico Madrid since being signed from Genk, and is currently preparing for Saturday’s Champions League final having already helped his current side to the Spanish title. With his performances having earned him a reputation as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Courtois understandably appears to have no intention of being in a situation where he wouldn’t be playing week in, week out.
“The two of us want to play everything,” he told BBC Sport. “Nobody will be happy to play in only the League Cup or FA Cup. Things are unclear at the moment. I have the biggest respect for Petr Cech. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world so I think putting him and me in the same team is not the healthiest thing in the world.
“We will see in the next week if we can sit together with Chelsea to find something for next year, find out what they want, what my desire is. We will see.”
There is certainly a strong case to be made that Courtois is already a better goalkeeper than Cech. But with the 32-year-old still in his prime years for a goalkeeper, Chelsea will be loathed to move on a player of his experience and continued quality. The best solution for all parties may be to have Courtois remain at Atletico for a fourth campaign. That has been made more difficult by the wrangling over the Belgium international’s participation against Chelsea in the recent Champions League semifinal, although the expected transfer of Diego Costa from Atletico to Stamford Bridge suggests that relations remain cordial.
With the futures of Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku all in question, Costa may not be the only striker arriving this summer. Chelsea’s name has also been thrown into the mix regarding the future of Bayern Munich’s unsettled front man Mario Mandzukic. The Croatia international looks all-but certain to depart the German champions having become disgruntled by the impending arrival of Robert Lewandowski. Indeed, he was left out of Bayern’s squad for last weekend’s DFB-Pokal final. The Daily Mirror is among the sources claiming that Chelsea will vie with Arsenal for Mandzukic’s signature.
The Blues may have won the battle for another of their transfer targets. Along with the two big Manchester clubs, City and United, Chelsea have been linked with Porto’s highly rated center-back Eliaquim Mangala. The France international was close to joining City in January, but the Premier League champions balked at Porto’s reported asking price of £35 million. Mangala has now revealed that, while nothing is decided, he would prefer a transfer to Stamford Bridge.
“City or Chelsea? Chelsea because it is London,” Mangala told beIN Sports. “It is true that I love the Premier League because it is a spectacular league. In January, there were discussions with City, but it fell through because the two clubs could not reach an agreement. Every player wants to play in the biggest clubs. I am an ambitious player and the team that can help me win titles is the one that interests me.
“My goal now is the World Cup. We will see what happens after that. I told [agent] Jorge Mendes that I don't want to know anything about the transfer window until then.”
Chelsea have already signed another French central defender, in 19-year-old Kurt Zouma, while captain John Terry has been handed a new one year contract. Were Mangala to arrive, it would likely mean the end for David Luiz at Chelsea. The Brazilian has not appeared to have the trust of manager Jose Mourinho in his favored position at center-back and has again been linked with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Meanwhile, it appears that Paulinho has no intention of moving across London from Tottenham to Chelsea, as has been reported of late. After arriving from Brazilian side Corinthians last summer, the midfielder had a difficult first season amid a troubled campaign for Tottenham. The Brazil international had previously been linked with Chelsea, but has insisted he does not regret his move to White Hart Lane.
“Absolutely not,” he told Four Four Two magazine. “I know how to handle my career and it'll take more than just one bad moment before I reconsider my options. We have all got responsibilities at Tottenham and we are ready to go through this.”