Former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois came out with a rather ... interesting ... take this weekend on how his seven-year stay on the Blues’ books ended, accusing the club of reneging on a promise made and playing the victim in a web of lies where he, of course, is the one true soul. He is the Lando Calrissian to Granovskaia’s Darth Vader, and he’s about to go save Han Solo.
Unsurprisingly, Courtois’s story doesn’t quite match with the publicly available facts, or, even more damningly, his own words from the past 6-12 months — nor does he have a cape or, in fact, own a spaceship — which makes the whole thing almost as laughable as it is annoying.
But while we may laugh or seethe, for the club, this may be a more serious issue. Chelsea certainly have a reputation to maintain — it would not do our business any good if we became known for breaking promises to players — and while the club stopped short of an official response, they certainly made it known through the usual channels, that they are paying attention and will not let such statements slide without a response.
As Matt Law reports in the Telegraph, Chelsea “have been angered” by Courtois’ accusations, which they “strong reject”, including the specific claims that Granovskaia had agreed to let him go in the summer and that she “suddenly” reneged on that promise after the World Cup ended last summer.
Instead, Chelsea claim that after no one came forward with an actual offer before the World Cup, but with Courtois also not willing to sign a new deal, the club had made peace with taking the financial hit of letting him run down his contract rather than overspend on a new goalkeeper, especially in that short of a time frame. Courtois had claimed publicly he was willing to comply to such an arrangement, but went on strike instead. Sarri then told Chelsea that the last thing he needed was this sort of distraction in the first few weeks of being on the job, so Chelsea made the deal with Real Madrid and paid Kepa Arrizabalaga’s release clause as replacement.
Courtois, who once went after his former national team coach Marc Wilmots for defamation, should probably watch what he says a bit more carefully, lest he find himself on the opposite side of a similar case. Do not mess with the Emperor’s Hand, T-Bo.