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Chelsea will block Barcelona's attempts to poach Courtois

Scott Heavey

According to the Spanish media, mean ol' Jose Mourinho is at it again. The Chelsea manager is squelching a 'dream' by not letting the Catalans poach one of his players to replace the soon-to-be-departed Victor Valdes. Barcelona want to bring in Thibaut Courtois for the 2014/15 season -- as well they might, since Courtois is one of the best goalkeepers in the world -- and Marca are reporting that the interest is mutual. Only Chelsea are standing in the way of a transfer.

That's obviously a pretty big impediment for Barcelona getting their way. There are three years left on Courtois' current deal, and they need a new goalkeeper in place by the end of the season. That means that it'd be impossible for a transfer to go ahead without Chelsea giving their consent, and there's essentially no reason for Chelsea to do so unless they're presented with silly money.

The club's response has apparently been to offer Courtois a three-year contract extension running through June 2019, and Marca have suggested that unless he agrees to the deal he'll be banned from going out on loan again and then benched for two years. That seems harsh, but the club has a lot of leverage here and it's not totally unreasonable to go with a carrot and stick approach here (the carrot being higher wages).

Barcelona need to get this done quickly, but if Chelsea aren't interested in selling, they'll have to go with plan B, which is probably Borussia Monchengladbach's Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Once that deal's done, there won't be much incentive for Courtois not to sign a new deal, so I'd imagine that the Blues will get an extension wrapped up at the same sort of time Barca sign an inferior goalkeeper.

If they wanted Courtois, they should have done a better job of scouting Belgium a few years ago.

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