According to a report by French radio station RMC, Chelsea will have high-level competition to keep goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois this summer.
With the Belgian’s contract up in the summer of 2019, it’s getting to crunch time for the club to either extend Courtois long-term, or look to shop him and get fair market value in the hopes that he does not run his contract down and leave for free. The report states that Paris Saint-Germain is heavily interested in adding Courtois between the sticks at Parc-de-Princes next season and has “been in contact” with representatives for the player.
RMC also stated that when they officially contacted PSG for a comment, the club denied the report, stating they have not held discussions with any players regarding a transfer this summer.
Courtois has been the regular goalkeeper at Chelsea since his return from a three-year loan at Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2014, making 148 total first-team appearances for Chelsea over his career. The 25-year-old has significant high-level experience despite his young age for a first-team goalkeeper, winning two Premier League titles with Chelsea in 2014/15 and 2016/17, plus a Europa League title and Champions League final appearance both with Atletico Madrid. He also owns 55 caps for the Belgian national team since his debut on the international scene in 2011 as a 19-year-old.
Chelsea currently sits in fifth in the Premier League table 10 points out of a Champions League position, weakening their bargaining power to keep Courtois long-term. However, the RMC report states that Chelsea is so opposed to letting Courtois leave that they would risk him walking for free, forcing him to ride out his contract in the hopes that securing Champions League play with next year’s Premier League finish would convince him to sign on long-term at some point during play next campaign.
This all comes despite Courtois’s insistence in late March that he would be back at Chelsea next season. He gave the Blues an ultimatum of a new contract, saying he wants his future wrapped up before the 2018 World Cup in Russia. “I’m a little tired with talking about my future, all the speculation weighs on me,” Courtois said. “I still have a year of contract and we have to talk to Chelsea soon, but I already know that I’ll be at Chelsea again next year, whether I extending my contract or not, I want it to be clear by the World Cup.”
Potentially affecting this story could be PSG’s Financial Fair Play status. Reports have circles this past week that the French side is under heavy scrutiny by UEFA about club financials, and could come under fire for overstated sponsorship deals. Should the situation progress, it’s possible that PSG receives a transfer ban either this summer or in the near future, affecting their ability to register players that make the switch.
Also affecting the situation could be the status of current Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who is rumored to be headed out of Stamford Bridge this summer after a disappointing title defense. A managerial change always causes upheaval at a club, with players favoring some bosses over others, and visa versa.
Finally, the RMC report also states that the French club is also in discussions with this year’s starting goalkeeper Alphonse Areola about a contract extension, which could affect their pursuit of Courtois. Areola is a PSG youth product and has been with the club his entire career, aside from loan spells at Lens, SC Bastia, and Villareal.