Atletico Madrid are keen to use Chelsea’s interest in Radamel Falcao to secure a permanent move for goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois this summer, according to the Independent.
Courtois has yet to make an appearance for Chelsea since signing from Genk for £7 million in 2011. He is currently enjoying his second season on loan at Atletico as Petr Cech continues to be the number one at Stamford Bridge. The Spanish club are keen to keep the 20-year-old, but Chelsea will demand at least £20 million, according to the London Evening Standard.
However, while Chelsea are keen to hang onto Courtois as a long-term replacement for Cech, their desire to sign Falcao could potentially see a mutually beneficial deal struck.
The prolific Colombian striker is widely believed to be Chelsea’s leading transfer target this summer. Falcao has a release clause of €60 million (£52m), but that could potentially be lowered considerably if Courtois were to be included in part-exchange.
Chelsea’s hopes to sign Falcao are also likely to be boosted if a report in Spanish publication AS that a clause in the player’s contract would require Atletico’s rivals Real Madrid to pay €15 million (£13m) more than his release clause proves true.
Falcao is not the only striker to be linked with a transfer to Chelsea of late, with Saint-Etienne’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also said to be a target. Having scored 16 goals in 28 Ligue 1 appearances this season, the 23-year-old is thought to be likely to move clubs this summer but he has hinted that he could stay in France with a move to big-spending Paris Saint-Germain.
“I am ready to join a top club,” he said, according to the Daily Mirror.
“PSG? Of course an eventual offer would be really interesting, but I don’t know if they are really tracking me. We will see. In any case it would be nice to play alongside [Zlatan] Ibrahimovich.”
With the possibility of Courtois at least going on loan again next season, Chelsea continue to be linked with Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. According to the Daily Telegraph, Stoke are anticipating a bidding war for the Bosnia international—with Manchester United and Arsenal also interested—that could push the price up to near the £20 million mark.
Chelsea have previously had a £4 million offer rejected for Begovic back in 2010, but resistance this time could come from the player. The 25-year-old may well be hesitant to move to a club where he would not be first choice.
Another player long reported to be on Chelsea’s radar is Corinthians midfielder Paulinho. The Brazil international was thought to be interesting the Blues and Internazionale in January, but the player has continued to reiterate his commitment to the club that defeated Chelsea in the final of the Club World Cup.
“I received two offers from Inter Milan,” he revealed, according to Sky Sports. “I decided to stay because it wasn't the right moment to go.
"The financial side was very good but I always place my career ahead of the money. Time will tell when it will be the right moment.
"When a player wants a new challenge, he insists, but when he doesn't want to go, he insists as well.
"The national team is one of the reasons why I stayed, as the manager had changed. If I had gone, it would have been a new beginning."