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Courtois talks children and Madrid as transfer rumors catch fire, again

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The Courtois-Alisson merry-go-round

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Belgium v Tunisia: Group G - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

My personal belief is that Thibaut Courtois will be between the posts when Chelsea kick-off the 2018-19 Premier League season on August 11th against Huddersfield Town.

But that’s becoming more a matter of faith than a conclusion based on evidence. All the tea leaves right now seem to be saying that Chelsea and Courtois are ready to lead separate lives after four years and four trophies.

On the Chelsea side of things, the rumors about the club making a move for Brazil’s 25 year-old Alisson won’t quit.

Di Marzio claims that that Real Madrid have backed away from trying to buy the Roma goalkeeper and that Chelsea are preparing a €70m offer. That’s closing in on twice the previous record for a goalkeeper transfer, an honor currently (temporarily?) owned by Manchester City’s Ederson at £34.7m (€40m).

Chelsea acquiring Alisson — or some other less excellent option like Jack Butland — would clear the way for Real Madrid to bring in the man who’s been linked to them for three years now, Thibaut Courtois. The idea is that one of the richest clubs in the world is looking to pinch pennies and that Courtois, whose contract expires in 2019, would be more affordable.

The Telegraph’s Matt Law takes a different tack on the same story, writing that Chelsea are wary of losing Courtois on a free and will listen to offers. Should one touch £50m, then they’ll spend the £60m (€67m) it’s thought Roma want for Alisson. Alisson is in play because he’s pushing Roma for a new contract and wants to at least triple his wages (to about £120 thousand/week), while Roma themselves are in a Financial Fair Play tangle and could use some relief in the form of Premier League money.

Not helping soothe the fevered brow of anyone who wants Chelsea to stick with their keeper (five-hole weakness or not) is Courtois himself. He’s being his typically outspoken self again, this time with Belgium’s Sporza. As before, the issue with Thibaut is that he’s a father of two children and that they and their mother (his ex-girlfriend) are in Madrid. It’s almost like he’s asking Real to come and get him.

“I have a certain preference, I already have ideas in my head, but I have moved everything until after the World Cup. My children are the most important thing for me: I now have 1.5 years less contact with them, Face Time is beautiful, but seeing them grow up is something else, so my children will play an important role in my decision.“

-Thibaut Courtois; source: Sporza via Google Translate

So that’s where the matter stands in the latest flurry of rumors. As with everything else about Chelsea this summer, it’s all talk and zero action. But at least we know what the timeline is on this one. When Belgium’s World Cup is over, Courtois will reopen contract talks with Chelsea. If they can’t find common ground, then this awkward double-transfer machinery might swing into gear.