Reuters caught up with you Thibaut Courtois yesterday afternoon, and naturally they asked the young Belgian about the rumors we've been hearing that an exchange deal involving Courtois and Radamel Falcao having been completed in December. He was pretty blunt in his response, and didn't leave much doubt about where matters stood between he and Chelsea:
"A lot of things the press say are nonsense, they are guessing."
"They know Chelsea want Radamel Falcao but Chelsea have also told me, 'The last thing we want to do is sell you'. Maybe they are lying to me but I don't think so."
You'd expect the player to be in the loop if he'd been part of a deal for Falcao, as he'd have to agree to a new contract in order to make any sort of player exchange possible. If Chelsea are telling him they intend to keep him, it's a pretty strong indicator that this Falcao nonsense is exactly that.
Common sense would indicate that Chelsea have very little to gain from offering Courtois to Atletico on a permanent basis anyway, as the Madrid side are likely to demand that the value of the striker's release clause be met in any deal that sees him leave the club. Certainly a player exchange could reduce the actual dollars spent, but I have a hard time seeing Atletico (with their financial issues) knocking the cost of a sale down by more than Chelsea could get on the open market for their young keeper. If Chelsea had to sell Courtois in order to afford Falcao (and I doubt that is the case), they would still be far better off simply making him available to much richer clubs, and just meeting the buyout for Falcao.
So if Courtois is not part of any potential deal for Falcao, what exactly is in store for him? Will he be demanding a move away from the club? Does he still think he'll eventually be the Chelsea number one? He was asked about that, and how exactly this whole situation came about:
"The problem is I think that Chelsea didn't expect me to be at this level this soon, I've developed really quickly,"
"It's a very good situation for Chelsea. They have Cech, who is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and I think I am an up and coming young talent with the quality maybe also to play for Chelsea. They will continue with Cech for two more years, I think."
"It was strange joining Chelsea but when I signed I knew I would be loaned out to a team. They had like a five-year plan for me."
Again, there seems to be a lot of sense being spoken by the young Belgian. While he was an excellent prospect when they bought him, I doubt that many felt he'd reach this sort of level as quickly as he did. Frankly, his development into one of the top keepers in Europe at such a young age has been astonishing.
It's also interesting that he thinks the club plan to continue on with Petr Cech for another two seasons. That would make an awful lot of sense, as it would mean they plan to go with Cech until he's got just a single year remaining on his contract, allowing Courtois to continue to develop and possibly have a season here in England under his belt. Most importantly, it sounds like Courtois is on board with this five year plan, even though he's developed faster than the club had anticipated.
Going forward, this will likely be a very interesting situation to watch. Cech is still performing at a world class level, but given his injury history, he may not have a decade left in him. Courtois seems content to continue on loan and replace him as his contract is winding down, which would seem to be the ideal scenario for the club as well. It will be a situation worth watching, but I wouldn't be shocked to hear that Chelsea and Courtois agree to an extension this summer that put to rest any talk of a sale. With the way he's been playing, I certainly hope that's the case.