There you have it folks, our first official signing of the summer window comes just as the lads begin preseason preparations in Malaysia. More on Mr. Thibs after the jump:
What he said.
To be frank, and not Jim (ha) this one came out of left field. I don't believe many of us in fandom had any inkling we were in the market for a keeper- let alone a young prospect that could likely start for many major squads in most countries. So it therefore comes as a welcome surprise to see Chelsea make such a bold acquisition to begin what will hopefully be a productive and efficient summer of outlays. With a fee in the range of 9 million being bandied about, I would say this is an excellent purchase. In Courtois, CFC have the Belgian young goalkeeper of the last year, and at 19, a significant prospect for the future that could be a readymade replacement for Big Pete in a few years time.
Reports have already suggested that Thibs was to be purchased and loaned back to his current club, Genk, for at least two seasons of further experience and tutelage. Rubbish, it seems. The latest chatter now indicates Thibs will actually be making the transition to Atletico Madrid, where he will have the immediate responsibility of filling the recently vacated slot of David De Gea. These reports also mention a minimum of two seasons at Madrid. This, my friends, is my excited face. I'm totally behind this purchase, and moreso behind the desire to loan him out to an experienced club that plays in a competitive league and in a variety of competitions. Such exposure is priceless, and it will go a long way towards determining just how good Thibs can actually be/become. Two seasons? Hell, make it three and lets really find out what sort of diamond this kid can become. After all, he would return to Cobham at 22 years of age, not exactly past his prime by any stretch.
Thibs is currently having his medical at The Bridge, upon completion of which, he will be formally introduced to the club and press. He could immediately fly out to Malaysia to join with the senior squad, but the suggestion is he'll remain in London until a loan with Atletico or another club can be finalized. I for one, would just like to go on record as saying that we should all be very excited by his acquisition- anyone that actually follows the Belgian league (I only know one person) can tell you that Thibs is an excellent keeper with massive potential. Sending him away rather than having him rot on the bench is a bright decision and one that certainly suggests AVB's vision for youth development and acquisitions.
So lets welcome our newest purchase with open arms and hope that one day he can man the sticks with the same quiet confidence of our own Big Pete McNasty.