Chelsea struggling to find Courtois replacement with Madrid move on hold

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Chelsea will not sell Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid without securing a replacement, and have thus halted all discussions, according to a Sky Sports report on Monday afternoon.

Following his Golden Glove performance at the 2018 World Cup, Madrid has been heavily linked with Courtois as an upgrade from Costa Rican international Keylor Navas who has served as the starting goalkeeper for each of the last three years at the Bernabeu. Los Blancos have won the Champions League each of those three seasons.

However, according to the Sky Sports report, negotiations have been broken off by Chelsea with the Blues requiring a replacement to be secured before they can continue. With the Premier League season just 11 days off, the options are dwindling.

Leicester City manager Claude Puel has stated publicly that with the season so close, he believes Kasper Schmeichel will stay at King Power Stadium. The Danish international, who also excelled this summer in Russia, has been mentioned as one of the top choices to replace Courtois should he leave, but that option may be off the table. In addition, Jordan Pickford is reportedly set to engage in negotiations for a contract extension at Everton when he returns from his extended post-World Cup rest.

The Sky Sports report puts the latest Courtois valuation by Madrid at $42 million, significantly lower than the $87.7 transfer fee Liverpool paid for Alisson this summer, a record for a goalkeeper. That is because Courtois is in the final year of his contract at Chelsea, and the pressure is on the Blues to sell him now or lose him for nothing, destroying the club’s negotiating leverage.

Still, reports suggest Courtois has not ruled out signing a new contract at Stamford Bridge, which would obviously be the ideal scenario for the Blues. With that still in flux, there is no telling who will be the starting Chelsea goalkeeper when they open the season Saturday, August 11 against Huddersfield Town.