When Belgian goalkeeper Thibault Courtois was signed from Genk back in July 2011, not a whole lot was known about him. £5 million was splashed out on the 19-year-old, and that being an extremely young age for a ‘keeper, he was seen as a (distant) long-term successor to Petr Cech.
However, with the youngster having not one, but two seasons out on loan at La Liga Club Atletico Madrid – who are not even a step down considering the Super Cup – how long can he expect to be behind Cech in the race for the No1 spot at the Bridge?
This time last year, Cech was having one of his worst spells in the Chelsea shirt, with high profile errors coming against Arsenal amongst others, but the ‘keeper now seems to back to his consistent best, which may leave Courtois in an uncomfortable position. Cech is only 30 years old – a goalkeeper’s prime age – so will Courtois be patient enough to wait? Will he be loaned out to Atletico, or any other team for that matter, for season after season?
When Courtois joined the club, he said:
““It’s wonderful that they Chelsea have such confidence in me and see me as the successor of Petr Cech. Chelsea has a great sporting level and I can grow at ease for a few years until I reach the first team.”
Did he know that Cech was still just 30?! The phrase ‘few’ is also important, I wonder how many years a ‘keeper – who has been one of the best shotstoppers in one of (I’m not going into this debate) the best leagues in the world – will be willing to wait.
After Atletico’s Super Cup win against Chelsea, Di Matteo was quick to praise his loaned out youngster, although I struggle to think what he did to score 4 goals past that leaky ‘Friday night’ defence. Come to think of it, couldn’t he at least have had the decency to ship a few goals in? Some people…
“He’s established himself over there and has a lot of people following him in Europe as well as Spain. We are lucky enough to have signed him at the right time. He will spend another year with Atletico Madrid and then we will review his situation.” Di Matteo told the Daily Mirror.
“He’s a top, top goalkeeper. He has all the ability and the potential to become the future of Chelsea.”
I guess we all have to wait until the end of this season then, when Di Matteo ‘reviews the situation’. One thing’s for sure, Petr Cech will not want to give up his No1 spot without a fight; he will certainly feel that it is he who is ‘the future of Chelsea’.
By Matt Morlidge