Who could Chelsea sign to replace Thibaut Courtois?
After a disastrous title defence, this was always going to be a busy summer for Chelsea. It just took a little longer to get started than everyone anticipated.
Antonio Conte was set to be sacked following his FA Cup triumph, Maurizio Sarri to come in and bring in players that suited his style. Deadwood had to be sold, too. The FA Cup was in May. Sarri arrived nearly two months later.
Once the Italian was installed, his desk drawer stocked with fags, the wheels began turning. Jorginho arrived while everyone worried about Eden Hazard's links to a Ronaldo-less Real Madrid. Willian is said to be Barcelona bound. But it's Thibaut Courtois whose contract runs out in June 2019. Chelsea must secure his signature or capitalise on his departure. Real Madrid is touted as the buyer for around €40 million.
Courtois has established himself among the world's top keepers. Just like David De Gea, the Belgian made a name for himself at Atletico Madrid before cementing his world-class status in England. Courtois has won everything in England, the Premier League twice, League and FA Cups. The 26-year is entering his prime, winning the prestigious Golden Glove at the World Cup.
The 6'6 keeper is probably irreplaceable, but you can't leave the goal empty. Ask Germany. The Blues signed Robert Green on Wednesday. England's no.1 in South Africa 2010, he leaves Leeds behind to battle Willy Caballero for the backup position. Neither is anywhere near first choice material.
Jan Oblak's release clause is nine digits. Chelsea aren't in that market. Everton is asking upwards of £70 million for Jordan Pickford. For some reason, clubs are reluctant to sell top netminders. Pepe Reina is approaching the end. Petr Cech and Joe Hart are both in retirement's reception lobby. Chelsea should focus on younger and better alternatives. Here are three.