It’s been quite the dramatic weekend at Chelsea, especially when compared with the ennui of the preceding month, month and a half. Sackings, signings, legal fights and smoke breaks, plus a bit of gazumping for good measure, too: it’s Silly Season turned up to 11, but with actual extra loud noises behind it.
And we’re not done yet. The weekend isn’t over and the true silliness of the summer might actually just be starting.
Sarri’s arrived, but he has no coaches or staff confirmed. He’s not starting work until Monday, by which point we will have exactly one week before the first pre-season match in Australia, and less than four weeks before the first real-season match in Huddersfield.
And that’s just matters on the pitch. Off the pitch, the Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard soap opera is set to play out, with the latter reigniting the Real Madrid signal fire as if it were Bobby Ewing coming back from a dream, but after six seasons rather than one.
With Hazard confirming, for the first time, that he “might be” thinking about leaving Chelsea, Thibaut Courtois, who’s also been strongly linked with Real Madrid, saw the opportunity to, jokingly or not, insert himself into the conversation as well.
“Wherever I go, Hazard must come along. We will not let each other go. Ah, we’ll see. Now first vacation. And agree with my entourage in between.”
Hazard and Courtois tried this joke on for size once before, but it had a much more distinctly Chelsea flavor to it back in January. Now it very much stinks of Real Madrid, just like Courtois’ own future.
“Now I’m going to talk to my manager to see what the possibilities are. All options are open to me. Also stay at Chelsea, yes. People always complain that players do not comply with their contracts, but maybe I will. I do not think they will keep someone with my qualities on the bench, even if I do not sign. But maybe that’s possible, because I like being in London.“
-Thibaut Courtois; source: HLN via Google Translate
This is Courtois so of course his comments will generate plenty of angst, though he’s basically repeating his previous stance on the matter. Before the World Cup, he claimed that his main goal this summer was to clarify his situation, be that a contract extension, a transfer, or simply maintaining the status quo and playing out his contract. That latter option is what he’s referencing at the end of his comment, though realistically, it should not come to that. If Courtois doesn’t sign his extension, Chelsea would be utterly foolish to not cash in and replace him with Alisson.
In a way, Courtois’s situation is much more clear cut than Hazard’s. We at least know the factors at play and what we can and cannot influence. In Hazard’s case, those conditions are much more vague and, at least right now, much more uncertain.