While others from the Belgium national team were at least in the stands (De Bruyne) or even on the pitch (Kompany), the Chelsea contingent were nowhere to be seen. Maybe Batshuayi was just hiding, since we know that Hazard had asked for an extra day.
UPDATE: Batshuayi was just hiding.
But Courtois was instead back at Genk, being honored by his old club ahead of their match against STVV on the opening weekend of the Jupiler League.
Naturally, as he was giving an interview, the topic of his future came up.
His answer, just like his Instagram post, has left plenty of room for interpretation.
“I’m not going to comment. It’s all delicate. I’m relaxed at the moment.”
-Thibaut Courtois; source: @HLNinEngeland
Delicate? No wonder Sarri was worried about the Courtois situation when asked about in his pre-match press conference. The Chelsea head coach has been feeling confident of keeping Hazard and Willian, but he’s not allowed himself to go that far whenever talking about Courtois.
Meanwhile in Genk, Belgium. Thibaut Courtois will be honoured by his former club KRC Genk today. On the Real Madrid transfer saga: "I'm not going to comment. It's all delicate. I'm relaxed at the moment." #CFC pic.twitter.com/guzRFQ5UaJ— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) August 5, 2018
Sarri himself was asked about the Courtois situation, and specifically the agent’s comments, but Sarri once again doubled-down on the face-to-face chat that he’ll be having with both Courtois and Hazard.
But Sarri does seem to open the door, by making it clear that he only wants players who are motivated and who want to play for Chelsea.
Sarri on Courtois: "I have no reaction on (his) agent (who said he wanted to leave)." Says he wants to hear it from Courtois. Says he only wants players with very high levels of motivation.— Dan Levene (@danlevene) August 5, 2018
Courtois may be happy to stay for one more year (and run down his contract and leave for free next summer), but does that really count as wanting to play for Chelsea? Probably not.
For what it’s worth, backup goalkeeper Willy Caballero put in a strong shift today against City, but was backed up by Marcin Bułka rather than ostensibly third goalkeeper Rob Green.
We have four days left to sort this “delicate” situation out. At this point, all our choices are non-ideal, but we’ll just have to figure out the least worst. (Chelsea of course can sell Courtois after August 9 — the Spanish window is open until August 31 — but we can’t register a replacement after Thursday.)