Atletico Madrid in final preparations for a Thibaut Courtois-less future

David Ramos

By now, the only way to truly gain any further confirmation of Thibaut Courtois's future is to see him suit up in a Chelsea shirt (it's not red/yellow/green, it's blue) at newly promoted Burnley on opening day of the 2014-15 Premier League.  But just to add another small indication of which way things are developing, here's the latest rumor on Atlético's goalkeeper situation:

Atletico Madrid and Benfica are in advanced negotiations for the transfer of Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak. The goalkeeper has passed a medical with Atletico [...] and his signing could be made ​​official in the next hours....

The player has not trained Monday with the Portuguese team.

-source: Cadena COPE via Google Translate

While the "next hours" had come and gone without any official word so far, this move has been rumored for some time now and its completion should indicate that Atlético are fully ready for a Thibaut Courtois-less future.  Although Oblak did miss training last July, too, in a contract "misunderstanding," so there's a chance this situation is similar in nature.

But assuming it's not, 21-year-old Oblak, who deposed the incumbent Artur as Benfica's first-choice goalkeeper halfway through last season (and kept 13 clean sheets in 16 games, including the Europa League final), will be competing for the Atlético job with Miguel Angel Moyà, who signed earlier this summer.

"Courtois's shadow will be long until the goalkeeper who replaces him can also show that he can do well.  In football, no matter how well you do, the memory is short. Now, I am here and if I am lucky enough to do well, people will forget."

"This is the challenge and I think it has come at a good moment of maturity for me.  I was recruited for Atletico without knowing if Courtois would stay or go. But when the offer came, I had to say yes.  This, for me, is a prize ... or a reward, depending on how you look at it. I will try to prove myself, try to train well and win the confidence of the coach. If I do not, it's because another [goalkeeper] is better than me."

-Miguel Angel Moyà; source: Goal

Moya is a veritable bearded ancient 30-year-old when compared to either Courtois (22) or Oblak.  He had been first choice at Getafe the previous two seasons, but will be coming off a knee injury so he'll have his work cut out of for him.  More importantly for us, however, it looks like he will be competing against a Slovenian rather than backing up a Belgian.  Good news!

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