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Chelsea linked with Manchester United cast-off as emergency loan cover for Courtois

Michael Regan/Getty Images

With Thibaut Courtois expected out for at least 10 weeks, Chelsea are down to just one senior goalkeeper in summer signing Asmir Begović.  New backup Jamal Blackman has had success at the youth level, but he's entirely untested at senior level — he is one of the few academy products who's largely stayed home rather than hit the road with loan after loan.  As it stands, he will get his trial by fire against League One powerhouse Walsall in the League Cup next week.  Unless we bring in extra cover.

Immediately in the wake of the Courtois injury news, Mourinho claimed that we're not thinking about anything like that (yet?), but that hasn't stopped tabloid speculation.  Sources in both England and Spain (citing each other, as it often tends to be the case) have brought up Victor Valdes as a potential signing.  The 33-year-old ex-Barcelona legend has been given the Malouda-treatment by Van Gaal, meaning that while the goalkeeper is technically still employed by the club, he has basically zero chance of ever playing for them again.

Both FA and UEFA regulations allow emergency loans for goalkeepers.  Though specific regulations are a bit unclear, when Newcastle United applied for similar dispensation last year from the Premier League, they were denied the option as they still had two goalkeepers signed to professional terms.  It didn't matter that they were aged just 21 and 17.  With Begović, Blackman, Beeney (U21), and Collins (U19) all on professional terms, getting permission for an emergency loan seems highly unlikely.  If we are to bring in extra cover, we would have to do it via free agency, like in 2006, when we signed the unattached Magnus Hedman.  (Valdes might be able to buy out his own contract, but that comes with its own unique set of murky laws and regulations and compensations.)

For now, our faith rests in Begović, who's done well enough, and Blackman, who's been with Chelsea since before age 13.  Hey, an academy product!

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