Chelsea's first new signing of the summer has been confirmed (
probably; I can't get the link to load update: Some quotes from Genk after the jump) as Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, formerly of RC Genk. Yesterday, reports were circulating of the 19-year-old joining the Blues for €6M, with the expectation of a loan back to his old side, but the word from Belgium this morning seems to imply that the price is higher and that there will be no loan deal either:
It changes fast: Genk officially say Thibaut Courtois is joining #cfc. Looks like 9 million euros & no mention of loan back.
The price going up by 150% is eyebrow-raising but ultimately isn't too big of a deal. Chelsea can still recoup a loan fee and/or sell Courtois on should he fail to establish himself as first choice by the end of his contract (and there'd be no shame in failing to displace Petr Cech), so the extra €3M ultimately doesn't mean too much. I'd rather have had him for €6M, but no worries even if the price is higher. Video of our new keeper after the jump...
Here's the release from the club:
Thibaut Courtois wordt op uitdrukkelijk verzoek van de speler zelf met onmiddellijke ingang getransfereerd naar Chelsea.
KRC Genk heeft gedaan wat het kon om de speler en zijn entourage te overtuigen bij Genk te blijven, doch dit is niet gelukt. Door het niet opdagen van Courtois op de afspraak deze ochtend ter voorbereiding van de match tegen Lyon, heeft Genk geen andere keuze gehad dan het bod van Chelsea, dat voor de club veruit het grootste bod is dat men ooit voor een speler ontvangen heeft, in te gaan.
KRC Genk betreurt de gang van zaken en op het moment dat een toptransfer gerealisseerd werd, heeft men hier een zeer slecht gevoel bij.
KRC Genk had al eerder het gevoel dat Courtois Genk zou verlaten en is ondertussen al even aan het werk om naar een opvolger opzoek te gaan.
And then hit with the Google Translate stick:
Thibaut Courtois has requested an immediate transfer to Chelsea FC.
KRC Genk has done what it could to the player and his entourage to convince to stay in Genk, but this effort failed. When Courtois did not appear for match preparation against Lyon, Genk had no other choice than to accept the bid from Chelsea, by far the club's largest bid ever for an outgoing player.
KRC Genk deplores the state of affairs when a toptransfer gerealisseerd was, this one has a very bad feeling*.
KRC Genk had already felt Courtois Genk would leave and is now hard at work to search for his successor.
Some strong words from Genk there. They certainly don't seem very happy about the way Chelsea have snatched Courtois out of their hands (they can join the club on that one, I guess). Whether this transfer has any effect on the club's pursuit of Kevin de Bruyne is an open question, but it's never nice seeing 'deplores' in a sentence talking about the club's behaviour. Ah well.
Sky Sports, incidentally, is reporting that Courtois signed a five year contract. I don't know where exactly they're sourcing that one, but it fits based on what was reported yesterday, so we'll go with a 5-year deal.