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Chelsea linked to RB Leipzig goalkeeper as potential Thibaut Courtois replacement — report

International friendly breaks a.k.a. Silly season #2

Napoli v RB Leipzig - UEFA Europa League Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

As we're well and truly into the dull period of the International friendlies, there are subsequently not that many juicy stories the media can cover, hence the need for various transfer rumours that come out of absolutely nowhere. Next up, Rasenballsport Leipzig's Hungarian goalkeeper Péter Gulacsi, a player who's being 'tracked' by the Blues as a potential successor to Thibaut Courtois, according to ESPN who've been informed by some 'sources' close to the German club.

It's no secret that Chelsea will probably be in need of a replacement for Courtois at some point in the future, no matter whether he signs a contract extension or not, as the Belgian's ongoing family situation is, objectively speaking, a pretty good reason for him to return to Spain. But, who is this Péter Gulacsi fellow?

FC Porto v RB Leipzig - UEFA Champions League Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

The Hungarian started out at Liverpool for whom he never played a single minute of competitive football, even though he was able to sit on their bench during a few FA Cup/ League Cup games. This isn't necessarily surprising as he was bought by them in 2008, then being merely 17 years old. After some rather disappointing loan spells in the lower leagues in England, he then made the switch to Redbull Salzburg on a free transfer back in 2013.

On a personal note, I watched Gulacsi play several times during his two year spell here in Austria and, while he was pretty solid in the Austrian Bundesliga, he wasn't perceived as anything special; on the contrary, there were several games that underlined why he wasn't held in high regard at Liverpool, causing quite a few howlers during his tenor.

Sure, the Hungarian goalkeeper won the domestic double in both years he played in Salzburg but that was more down to there being absolutely no competition in the league than anything else. This is also reflected by Gulacsi accumulating 39 clean sheets in 100 games for the 'Bullen' and conceding 99 goals in the process. In short, nothing he did before Leipzig would be indicative of Gulacsi representing a viable option at Chelsea and, though he was a decent to good goalkeeper for Salzburg, he wasn't anywhere near good enough to join a top European side.

Now, if we take a look at how his time in Germany has been up until now, the 27 year old has played a total of 87 games for Rasenballsport Leipzig, 14 of those being in the second Bundesliga and 59 in the first, the rest coming in cup competitions. Last season was generally a very successful one for Leipzig, being able to qualify for the Champions League immediately after getting promoted the year before and the goalkeeper conceding merely 39 goals in 33 games, as well as keeping a clean sheet on 9 occasions.

This year, however, things haven't been going as smoothly and there have been several calls by supporters for the club to acquire a goalkeeper of a greater quality. The former Liverpool man's already conceded nearly as many goals as he did in the previous campaign with there still being 9 games left to play. Internationally, it's the same story.

FC Salzburg v Celtic FC - UEFA Europa League Photo by Samuel Kubani/EuroFootball/Getty Images

I'm well aware that solely looking at the goals conceded and clean sheet ratios isn't enough to determine whether a goalkeeper is good enough to play for a club like Chelsea, especially as there are many factors that come into play. Nevertheless, if we do decide to sell Thibaut Courtois this summer, whether that be due to problems with the contract negotiations or the persisting problematic family issue, Péter Gulacsi is a more than woeful option to replace the Belgian and, with all due respect to the Hungarian (he's a very likable fellow), one can only hope that Chelsea aim higher than him.

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