Incoming Chelsea boss to promote young goalkeeper.
Returning Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks set to make the surprise decision to replace long-standing number one goalkeeper Petr Cech next season.
The 31-year-old has been an outstanding servant for Chelsea since joining the club in 2004, winning two league titles with the Blues in Mourinho’s first spell in charge, though Mourinho is now said to be willing to listen to offers for the Czech Republic international as Barcelona are said to be showing a strong interest.
The Catalan giants are looking for a new goalkeeper to replace the departing Victor Valdes, and may try their luck with a £15million offer for Cech, as it is now understood that Mourinho is sufficiently impressed with youngster Thibaut Courtois to make him his first choice in goal next season.
The young Belgian has spent the last two seasons on loan from Chelsea at Atletico Madrid, and has received many plaudits for his displays in La Liga, including from Mourinho himself, who commented on his tremendous ability after he made a number of crucial saves against his Real Madrid side in this season’s Copa Del Rey final.
After that game, the Portuguese boss said: “[Courtois] is a fantastic young goalkeeper with great potential. He made fantastic saves.”
This result was one that pushed Mourinho out of the door at Real Madrid, which led him to rejoining Chelsea, and Courtois will now be doubly pleased to have impressed the 50-year-old with his match-winning performance that night.
Still only 21, Courtois could be Chelsea’s number one for many years to come, and Mourinho is said to be keen to give him and fellow youngster Romelu Lukaku a chance to establish themselves as first choice at Stamford Bridge next season.
Lukaku was also farmed out on loan this year, impressing in his time at West Brom and attracting a lot of interest from several clubs again this summer, though it seems Mourinho will not look to loan him out again, as he sees him as a good long-term replacement for Blues legend Didier Drogba.
Chelsea fans will no doubt be disappointed to see Cech leave after he has become a favourite with the crowd, but it is unlikely that a ‘keeper of his quality will be content to sit on the bench behind Courtois after so many years as undisputed first choice. His Belgian counterpart has also arguably looked in better form this season, showing he can’t be kept out of the first-team for much longer.
This will come as the second surprising piece of news since Mourinho’s return, with rumours also surfacing that the returning boss will consider selling star player Juan Mata.
The self-proclaimed ‘special one’ will not want to anger the club’s supporters after completing his much-anticipated return to the club where he still held legendary status even after six years away, though he has shown himself capable of making difficult and controversial decisions in the past and answering his critics by delivering success.