Thibaut Courtois' future was the subject of many hundreds of column inches last summer, but all appeared to have been resolved when the young goalkeeper signed a five-year deal early on in the season. And now, with Petr Cech probably on the way out, Courtois seems set to be Chelsea's goalkeeper for a long, long time.
Which you wouldn't have known from the rumours that are flying around this week. Real Madrid have a long-term interest in the Belgian after watching him during his three-year loan at cross-town rivals Atléti, and Courtois and his agents used that interest as leverage when negotiating his new deal in 2014. But now that Real are set to pick up David de Gea from Manchester United, Courtois' representatives are set to lose a lot of their negotiating power with the Blues.
Ideally that shouldn't matter since the 23-year-old has another four years left on his current deal, but that appears not to be the case. Someone -- and I'm going to assume it's Agent Courtois -- has been briefing the press on Real's interest in the goalkeeper and that the potential de Gea move would mean that ‘Courtois could miss his chance to establish himself at the Santiago Bernabeu’*.
*From a Standard piece headlined ‘Chelsea in fight to keep Thibaut Courtois this summer’.
Which is a bit weird, since if Courtois was that keen on following in Iker Casillas's footsteps he'd probably be at the Bernabeu already. From an outside standpoint, it's difficult to imagine that Courtois will go anywhere in the next couple of years. He's on a long-term contract, he's loved by the manager and team, and he's the first-choice goalkeeper. There's no real escape route for him even if he wants to leave, which I doubt. Everything is in Chelsea's hands.
What's the verdict, then? I'd guess that either Courtois' representatives are taking note of the de Gea move and the potential wages being thrown around for elite goalkeepers and trying to get in on the action or that Real are trying to use this to keep the price for the de Gea transfer down. Either way, they're not doing a very good job.