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Thibaut Courtois squashes transfer rumours, is '100 per cent' staying at Chelsea next season

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One of the top goalkeepers in the world, Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois has been one of the hottest names in the rumour mill as we draw closer to the summer transfer window.

Linked with transfers to Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona as well as French juggernauts Paris Saint-Germain, the young goalkeeper has stopped short of fully committing his future to Chelsea up to now, saying that while he was keen to see how things would work out with new manager Antonio Conte, he "doesn't know" what the future will hold.  Add in rumors of discord between him and goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon, and it was looking like the 23-year-old was one step out the door after just two seasons at the club.

But in an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, Courtois has squashed the rumours and declared that he will "100 per cent" stay with Chelsea next season.

"I have never had any contact with PSG. I have played a lot against PSG recently - twice last season, again this season in a friendly and twice more in the Champions League this year. They are a good club who win their league easily."

"Me, I like playing in England. Paris is a very good club but I am happy at Chelsea."

"I have a contract for three years, so I will say 100 per cent [I'm staying at Chelsea]. Rumours affect any club where things are going badly. People think the top players want to leave because they are not in the Champions League."

For Courtois, it is up to the players themselves to return the club to the Champions League.  And he's up for the challenge.

"Everyone knows it is our fault we will not play in that competition next year. It has happened to Manchester United and to Dortmund, to not play in the Champions League, and it is heartbreaking. This year, we have not defended our title well like we needed to. We must regather our forces to return stronger and get back to the Champions League."

-Thibaut Courtois; Source: Le Parisien via Guardian

The lack of Champions League football will hurt the team in financial terms, but it may be a good thing as far as scheduling and domestic campaigns are concerned.  By keeping important players such as Courtois around, and making a few key signings, Chelsea's return to the Champions League should only take a short while.