The future of Petr Čech is in real doubt after José Mourinho selected Thibaut Courtois to start in goal for Chelsea’s opening match of the season against Burnley on Monday night. The battle to be No.1 at Stamford Bridge has been much discussed throughout the summer after Courtois was brought back from his three-year loan spell at Atlético Madrid, during which he established himself as one of the world’s best goalkeepers.
Mourinho said he only informed his two keepers of his decision right before kickoff at Turf Moor. “Petr was disappointed but football is sometimes like this. Players can often be unhappy with managers,” Mourinho explained after the 3-1 victory, according to BBC Sport. After 10 years as Chelsea’s first choice, speculation has been rife that Čech will now seek a transfer. Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco have all been linked with a move for the 32-year-old. But Mourinho stated that he wants Čech to stay.
“I hope Petr doesn't want to go and I hope he doesn't have offers to go and, if he does have offers, he refuses to go,” he said. “Obviously a goalkeeper is not a player you are changing match after match. You must give a bit of stability, but this is about performances.
“Ten years ago I had a very difficult decision to make when I had Carlo Cudicini giving fantastic performances in Chelsea's goal for many years. This situation is similar. We have to think about the future of the club and I made a decision to give the goal to Courtois.”
Conflicting with Mourinho’s comments, the Daily Mirror has reported that the Chelsea coach did not speak to Čech before making his decision about who started in goal against Burnley. The so-called “silent treatment” is said to have further disappointed Čech, leaving his future in even greater doubt. Another man to have expressed his desire for Čech to stay, though, is the man to have taken his place between the posts.
“I want him to stay,” Courtois said of Čech, reports Sky Sports. “Even if he doesn't play he can be a lot of help to me in training. I can still learn from him because he has a lot of experience, he can give me good tips about the Premier League, things I might not know at the start.
“He is nice to me. We are training very well and he is still proving he is a great goalkeeper. For the team it is better for us to have two good goalkeepers. I don't have a problem if he stays. Hopefully I can play well and stay in the team.”
The situation is complicated by the fact that Chelsea have one too many non-home-grown players over the age of 21 to register for their 25-man squad. That predicament means that it is unlikely Chelsea will make any significant additions to their squad before the transfer deadline at the end of August. Thus speculation linking the Blues with Portugal international midfielder William Carvalho appears wide of the mark.
Not that the rumors appear to have much credence to begin with. Reports in Britain state that Portuguese publication A Bola has claimed that Chelsea are set to bid £35 million for the Sporting Lisbon 22-year-old. However, A Bola’s story states that the rumor emanates from the British press. Carvalho has a release clause of €45 million (£36m) in his contract and has previously been linked with Manchester United and Arsenal.