Chelsea have three days to find a replacement for Thibaut Courtois, after he failed to report to training on Monday and is understood to have gone AWOL to force his exit from the club.
The Blues has been on the hunt for a replacement all summer, but those efforts looked to have petered out into a non-ideal but still workable situation where Courtois would’ve seen out the final year of his contract at the club before leaving next summer. Instead, Chelsea are left scrambling, paying extra for a lack of foresight and proper planning.
One name that has lurked threateningly all summer is Stoke City’s Jack Butland, and according to Sky Sports, the England international backup is back on top of the shortlist.
Sky sources: Chelsea make Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland top target if Thibaut Courtois leaves the club. #SSN pic.twitter.com/IX6Oqs15r8— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 6, 2018
As of now, Chelsea have Willy Caballero, Rob Green and Marcin Bulka (not necessarily in that order) as goalkeeping options should Thibaut leave. Even with the quality of those options or lack thereof, Butland’s signing doesn’t seem like a good move, with Chelsea likely having to spend most of Courtois’ potential fee (£30-35m) on the much inferior Butland (£25m, according to the Telegraph).
The only positive seems to be his homegrown status, but that hardly should be a consideration at a position as important as starting goalkeeper. But, considering how Alisson has already signed for Liverpool and Everton’s insistence to not sell Jordan Pickford, this may very well be the route that we end up taking.
Jack Butland just conceded this goal against Leeds. pic.twitter.com/jdY1GwdGF0— 88thminute (@88thminute) August 5, 2018
Other options that have popped up in the last couple months include Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel and AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, but neither of them are likely at this point. The Telegraph also name-drops Sevilla’s Sergio Rico.
#cfc have been looking at a number of targets this summer to replace #Courtois. #Alisson was their first and main choice. Since missing out to #Lfc, they have not been sure what to do. #Butland was way down the list but now a real possibility. Window closes in 3 days.— Simon Johnson (@sjstandardsport) August 6, 2018
With around three days to go before the deadline of the transfer window, anything and everything could happen. Here’s hoping we make a good decision, though that may not be possible having painted ourselves into this corner. Either way, time’s a-ticking.