Real Madrid are continuing their quest to replace goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who is good enough to win the Champions League three times, but apparently not flashy enough for the bright lights of the Santiago Bernabéu. In recent times, it looked like Real were veering away from the constant links with Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois and were trying to pry Alisson from Roma instead. This may be subject to change again.
According to Cadena SER, Madrid’s ‘Operación Portería’ — literally ‘Operation Goalposts’ — will shift objectives once again. After being denied by Athletic’s Kepa Arrizabalaga, who extended his tenure with the Basque club for a further seven-and-a-half years back in January, they were recently quoted €80 million for Alisson by AS Roma, which apparently they’re unwilling to pay. So they are back on track for Courtois.
They could sit back and wait until next summer, when Courtois will reach the end of his contract and be able to move from Chelsea on a free transfer ... if he chooses not to sign a new contract before then. But Cadena SER affirm that while the higher-ups at Madrid “know” T-Bo will not put pen to paper on a new deal, they are not willing to wait that long and want their goalkeeper situation settled this summer.
They might have to loosen the purse strings to do so however. The report claims Madrid are only willing to spend a bit more than half of Roma’s asking price for Alisson, and they feel this money would be enough to convince Chelsea, who do not want to lose Courtois for free, to let go of him. But recent reports from Italy, including from Gianluca Di Marzio, had claimed that Chelsea already rejected a €40m bid, which put Real on the Alisson track in the first place!
Round and around we go.
Of all potential targets, Cadena SER claims Courtois is the preferred one for Real Madrid. That says a lot about his quality, and of Chelsea’s need to convince him to stay at Stamford Bridge (especially with potential replacements so astronomically priced). Of course, with the World Cup taking almost all of the footballing’s world attention, and Courtois & Co concentrating on winning it all, nothing will be defined until the competition ends. Either way, this latest chapter of the Chelsea-Courtois story, one feels, is still only just beginning.