If Friday’s UEFA Champions League draw sets Chelsea against Atletico Madrid, the Mattress Makers face a stiff fee in order to play their starting goalkeeper.
Thibaut Courtois is in his third year on loan from Chelsea to Atletico, and the deal that allows the goalkeeper to play for the Spanish team includes a clause that would make it mighty pricey to feature against the Blues.
It seems Atletico is not willing to pay the price to use its 21-year-old Belgian star, seeing as it would cost the La Liga club approximately $8.3 million.
“It’s a number we can’t afford to pay,” said club president Enrique Cerezo.
“The problem if we got Chelsea would be whether Courtois can play or not,” Cerezo said. “It is possible that he won’t be able to play. Is that in the contract? Yes, of course. I imagine that if he plays, it will need a big quantity of money [to be paid].”
Chelsea say that it is up to Atlético to decide whether they may want to select Courtois against them. They made no comment on the specific clause in question.
Thirty-four year-old Spanish keeper Daniel Aranzubia is Atletico’s second-choice keeper. Courtois has not played in a match for Chelsea since transferring from Genk in 2011.
He also hasn’t lost since late February, in a strong run of form that includes six clean sheets and a 8W-2D record for Atletico.
Of course there’s a small part of any fan who likes to think Chelsea would say, “Play him for free. Bring us your best.” But that’s not happening, nor should it. It’s an outlier, even considering the two massive clubs involved, and it’s safe to assume Chelsea’s real answer was, “We told you how much it would cost to outright buy him.”