Thibaut Courtois is out of our lives but unfortunately still not completely out of our minds, as he not only continues to grease the wheels of an Eden Hazard transfer at every opportunity — which, well, whatever, at this point (Hazard will surely make up his own mind one way or another) — but in a recent interview with Belgian newspaper HLN, he’s tried to also rewrite some of the history of his departure from Chelsea this past summer.
As relayed by HLN’s man in England, Kristof Terreur, Courtois claims that he had a verbal agreement with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia about a summer transfer, which she did not honor after the World Cup.
“In March I had a meeting with Marina (Granovskaia) in which I told her that I would like to leave — living in London and the busy schedule made it impossible to see my kids, who lived in Madrid...
“‘Are you going to find something?’ she replied.
I told her, ‘Don’t worry’.
‘That’s good,’ she said. ‘We’ll let you go and we will find a replacement.’
“But, suddenly after the World Cup, a departure wasn’t that obvious anymore. All possible targets seemed too expensive. That was not what we had agreed on.”
-Thibaut Courtois; source: HLN via @HLNinEngeland
So you see, Thibaut’s the victim here. Just like when he was reportedly “baffled” by the exit rumors he himself was fanning.
There’s an interview with Thibaut Courtois in @hlnsport:— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) February 2, 2019
“In March I had a meeting with Marina (Granovskaia) in which I told her that I would like to leave - living in London and the busy schedule made it impossible to see my kids, who lived in Madrid...” (1/3) pic.twitter.com/LeTX9QfBOt
Of course, we’re not privy to these sorts of conversations and we certainly haven’t heard Granovskaia’s take on any of this.
What we do know is that the Blues started looking for goalkeepers as we were heavily linked with Alisson Becker, and it’s not like the Courtois talk hadn’t been constant for a good while by then anyway. But Chelsea were priced out of the Alisson deal (and balked at the prices quoted for the likes of Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford) — which matches Courtois’ story — and looked fully prepared to instead to go into this season with Courtois still between the posts, despite his expiring contract.
But this is where Courtois’ story falls apart. Alternatively, this is where he confirms that he’s a liar. Either way, it’s not a look that will improve his standing in these partsssssss.
“I’m committed to Chelsea. I have a contract until next year and I will be here. I will do my best for it.”
“Obviously there is no extension signed but I don’t think now is the moment to do it. I think it is better to wait until the end of the season. All I can say is I’m committed to Chelsea and also committed for next year.”
“I have no other thing to say [about the contract]. It’s easy when you have only one year remaining that other people might say something. I’m a bit annoyed by it because it’s a talking point and it’s a thing people went to dwell on.”
-Thibaut Courtois; March 2018 (i.e. the same time when he claims he made the agreement with Granovskaia about leaving in the summer)
Oh, YOU’RE annoyed?
“I will be coming back [to Chelsea after the World Cup] for sure, and I will see what they want [to do] and how they say it [...]”
“But I feel happy at Chelsea. It’s not that I necessarily want to leave. People always complain that players don’t comply with their contracts but maybe they do. I don’t think they will keep someone with my qualities on the bench, even if I don’t sign [a new contract]. But maybe [staying] is possible because I like it in London.”
-Thibaut Courtois; July 2018
Or maybe they don’t.
On the plus side, Thibaut’s set a pretty low bar for Kepa to not become persona non grata, so we can at least thank him for that.