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Chelsea FC Summer In Review: Goalkeepers

thibaut courtois
thibaut courtois

We've already had a general review of summer window, and I think most agree that Chelsea did very well indeed. However, I don't think anyone thinks that things went perfectly, so lets go into a little more depth regarding the squad composition for individual positions and how the summers affected said positions. We'll start with an easy one - the goalkeepers.

In 2010/11, Chelsea barely needed the likes of Ross Turnbull and Henrique Hilario - Petr Cech was both phenomenal and immensely durable all season, relegating him primary backup, Hilario, to one start in what was essentially a glorified friendly. There was and is no reason to think that we're going to need much help at keeper very soon. Yes, a better backup would be nice, but it's a massively inefficient use of resources - in order to find a goalkeeper good enough to do well for Chelsea when Petr Cech is down, one has to buy the sort of player who'd start on other teams, so there's big value trap there.

Despite there not being a need to add to the first team, Chelsea went shopping anyway, grabbing young Thibaut Courtois from Racing Genk and then immediately loaning him to Atletico Madrid. Courtois caught the attention of Chelsea fans early in the summer, when he claimed that he was going to be the next Petr Cech. Since he played in the Juliper League, very few of us had a clue what a Thibaut Courtois was.

Honestly, I still don't have much of one. Everyone who's seen him regularly tells me he's something special, and the one match I saw him play for Atletico Madird didn't do anything to convince me that he wasn't worth paying Genk €9M for as our first signing of the summer. Courtois is a top prospect, along the line of Manchester United's David de Gea, and Chelsea are lucky to have him.

Unsurprisingly, few other moves are made. They've been some complaints about not upgrading the backups now that Cech's down with an injury, but that seems hilariously reactionary - the likes of Marco Stolari would have given Chelsea a fractional boost to games we've already won for far too much money, then would have had to be sent packing to get game time once Cech returned (which should be shortly; hurray!). In other words, a backup was never a priority, and never should have been.

Faced with not much in the way of need, Chelsea went out and spent fairly big on a great young prospect. It's not exactly a buy that's going to be helpful for the next few years, but it sure doesn't hurt. And, of course, if Courtois turns out the way many believe that he could, the Blues of the late 10s will be immensely grateful to the 2011 edition for snapping him up.

Not too shabby then. Nothing went wrong, a fairly major thing went right. A solid B.

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