Courtois: "I want to play, if not at Chelsea, then at another team"

Michael Regan

So, Thibaut Courtois. We ignored Diego Simeone's quotes about wanting Atletico Madrid to keep him permanently, since he's not in charge of Atleti's transfers and they don't have the money besides, but now Courtois is talking again and he has some interesting things to say. Last time we heard from him he said a decision would be made in March; this time we're getting to see some of what he's hoping for when he talks to the club:

It is not up to me to say I am going to be No. 1. But neither do I want to go to a team and not play. I want to play, if not at Chelsea, then at another team.

...

I am interested in Atleti and Chelsea. First there must be talks with Chelsea about their plans, and then to see if there is something else. But at the moment it is just Atleti and Chelsea.

-Source: ESPN.

These are pretty interesting. On the one hand, Courtois isn't going to go into Chelsea assuming that he'll automatically unseat Petr Cech; on the other he's not interested in a bench role. We've seen a similar situation play out at the club this summer when Kevin de Bruyne came in ready to make an impact and then spent several months on the fringes of the squad. And now he's at Wolfsburg, so yeah.

I'm not sure how this is going to pan out. Gun to my head, I'd guess that if Courtois and Cech had to compete for playing time, it would be Courtois who comes out on top, especially after the big-game experience he'll gain in the remainder of the season and in the World Cup. But Chelsea could easily see things differently -- Cech's still a world-class goalkeeper, after all -- and predicting what the club will do is a fool's errand.

Jose Mourinho's already had to make a choice between an ace goalkeeper and a top prospect before, and he made the right call there. This time, however, the decision will be even more difficult. March will be interesting.

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