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How will Chelsea handle the backup goalkeeper situation this summer?

Lintao Zhang

With the news that both Hilario and Ross Turnbull will be released by Chelsea (bye guys), the Blues have exactly one senior goalkeeper on the squad. That's fewer than the recommended yearly allowance of goalkeepers by quite some distance. Chelsea obviously can't go through the upcoming season with just Petr Cech around. What are the options?

New signings. There are plenty of goalkeepers floating around at the moment. Mark Schwarzer's just been pushed out of the starting spot at Fulham by Marten Stekelenburg. Julio Cesar's too expensive for relegated Queens Park Rangers to keep hold of. Diego Lopez will be linked to Chelsea on account of his close connection with Jose Mourinho.

The issue with spending on backup goalkeepers is that they're not good investments. Although the likes of Hilario and Turnbull were mostly incompetent when they took the field, they didn't play often enough for it to be worth replacing them. If Chelsea are going to sign a new player or two, they should avoid spending much of anything on them.

Using the youth. Matej Delac and Jamal Blackman aren't Premier League calibre goalkeepers, but that doesn't really matter. Having Premier League calibre goalkeepers back up Petr Cech is kind of pointless, because those tend to cost money. Drafting in a couple of kids and hoping for the best -- and inserting an emergency recall clause in Thibaut Courtois' next loan deal -- would be a reasonable way of resolving the situation, and would allow us to avoid wasting non-home-grown slots on backup goalkeepers.

Thibaut Courtois. Or we could just bring Courtois back. Yes, he'd be completely wasted as a backup goalkeeper. But that's not what I mean. If Mourinho thinks that Courtois is Cech's superior right now, then moving Cech to the bench while handing Courtois the number one spot would hardly be unprecedented or insane. After all, it's more or less how Cech got his start with the Blues. And if this came to pass, Chelsea definitely wouldn't have to worry about goalkeeper depth -- they'd have two of the top ten goalies in the world on the same team. I don't think this is as far-fetched a scenario as it first seems.

There are our options (and there could be some mixing and matching, too). What do we all think?

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