Admittedly, the following is all a bit speculative. Thibaut Courtois has said that he’s staying at Chelsea for at least one more season. He also talks about ‘us’ when talking about next season (and how Bakayoko will come good), and while his contract situation is a cause for concern, we do have the summer (and then all of next season if needed) to work something out.
On the other hand, Courtois’ family situation remains non-ideal — on multiple levels, but especially when it comes to his kids living in Spain while he lives in England — and that will always be in the background. Coupled with his obvious love for Spain, he will undoubtedly return there one day. When that day comes is the question; could be soon, could be after he retires.
If for some reason that return were to happen this summer (i.e. Chelsea cash in while he’s under club control in terms of his contract), a ready-made replacement awaits at AS Roma. Of course, things are never that easy in real life (this isn’t FIFA/FM 18, to state the obvious), but Alisson would certainly be a more realistic transfer target than, say, Jan Oblak at Atletico Madrid — and with Courtois commanding a big fee, Chelsea would be well positioned to turn around and spend that on a replacement.
So, because of that, we are keeping half an eye on the 25-year-old goalkeeper, whose full name is a rather majestic Alisson Ramses Becker. A Boy Named Alisson came up through Internacional’s academy in Porto Alegre, where Oscar spent a couple years as well before signing with Chelsea, and has been Roma’s first-choice goalkeeper since the summer. He succeeded Wojciech Szczesny, who’s gone from Arsenal laughing stock to Buffon-heir at Juventus.
Alisson has impressed greatly and has been generating plenty of interest from various corners of the football world, including from Liverpool, which would be a direct concern for us — if they were ever to acquire competent goalkeeping and defending, the rest of the league could be in trouble.
Why would Roma sell their budding star? Same old reason why they sold Mo Salah, Antonio Rüdiger, Emerson, and so on. Finances. Roma GM Mauro Baldissoni may talk a good game about growing the club and hanging on to their big stars, but that has yet to be truly seen in action. Sure, Dzeko and Nainggolan and De Rossi stayed, but those were personal choices rather than anything different done by Roma management. A similar story and a similar choice probably awaits Alisson.
“The higher our revenue is, the more competitive we will be. We are committed to growing the club, and selling players can help us to do this sometimes. It is a tactic used by many clubs. Our results have proved us right and we will continue on this path.”
“Alisson? The club will decide whether we want to see him based on what is being offered to us, as well as the player’s will. If everyone has an agreement, then a decision will be made. We think Monchi is the best sporting director in Europe. He will make the appropriate assessments.”
-Mauro Baldissoni; source: Daily Star
These quotes from the beginning of this week seemed to run a bit contrary to rumors of Roma negotiating a new contract with at least double the salary.
And sure enough, yesterday, Alisson’s agent has denied any such talks, at least so far, though he did hint that the goalkeeper isn’t in a terrible rush to move just yet either.
“We still haven’t talked to Roma. Alisson is settled though and he likes the club and the city.”
-Ze Maria Neis; source: TeleRadioStereo via Football Italia
They certainly shouldn’t be in a rush to join Liverpool, that’s for sure.