Jan 10, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT
Chelsea find themselves between a rock and a hard place regarding their goalkeeping future.
It’s an age-old problem in sports that to this day no one has perfected (save maybe the Indianapolis Colts).
In one hand: an aging, tenured veteran who the fans adore and still has a bit left in the tank at the top level. In the other hand: a budding young star who wants to play and deserves to.
The first is Petr Cech. The second is Thibaut Courtois.
With Courtois already a household name having spent the past three seasons on loan to Atletico Madrid and supplanting Simon Mignolet as the Belgian number one, he’s going to start – somewhere – next season.
Unfortunately for Jose Mourinho, having the legendary Petr Cech in goal makes things difficult.
“My agent is talking with Chelsea. One of the coming weeks I’ll have a chat with Jose Mourinho,” Courtois reportedly said. “I think there will be a decision about my future at the end of March, or in the first weeks of April.”
Mourinho is well aware of the situation, and outwardly he’s confident. Back in November, he reassured fans saying,
“In this moment we are in a good situation,” he said. “I repeat that because we have the best goalkeeper in the world at a stable age. And Courtois is undoubtedly the best young goalkeeper in the world with two more years of contract. We are in control of the situation.”
But it wouldn’t appear that is the case. At 31 years old, the Headgear Hero still has a lot left in the tank. Mourinho in November referenced Edwin van der Sar’s long-lasting career. The legendary Dutch keeper moved from Fulham to Manchester United at an older age than Cech is now (35, to be exact) and proceeded to become an Old Trafford icon.
However, Courtois wants to start now, and that’s understandable. The 21-year-old has a clean sheet in half his La Liga matches this year, and has helped Atletico Madrid into a title challenge against Barcelona and Real Madrid.
But the real reason he’s swiftly becoming so coveted is because he’s been able to keep his form in the Champions League, something where many budding players falter.
Barcelona originally approached Courtois about becoming their goalkeeper of the future, but when he turned down the advance they opted for Marc-Andre ter Stegen, a move which looks imminent this summer.
With Barca out of the picture, Mourinho can breathe on the situation…for now. But convincing Courtois to stay put much longer as second fiddle is going to be next to impossible. So what is a Portugese manager to do?
Will he cement Cech’s legendary status by keeping him at Stamford Bridge for a while longer? Or will he disrespect Chelsea’s all-time great by selecting Courtois as Chelsea’s keeper of the future?
Jul 24, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT
Limited to just 16 matches last year after his big transfer from Liverpool to West Ham, Carroll is battling another ailment this season.
Jul 24, 2014, 2:09 PM EDT
The rags-to-riches defender steps away from the pitch, at least as a player, while reflecting on his career journey from North America to Europe and back.
Jul 24, 2014, 1:46 PM EDT
Herrera chats exclusively to PST: “If we are a humble team and we work hard, we will achieve our objectives and we will win trophies.”
Jul 24, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT
His dad played for El Tri, but California-born Fernando Arce Jr says his U-20 bow with the States makes him an American player “forever”
Jul 24, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Aston Villa, Manchester United and Manchester City all cruised, while Spurs had to find a late winner after coughing up a two-goal lead.
Jul 24, 2014, 12:47 PM EDT
What about the Premier League? Bundesliga? Serie A?
Jul 24, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT
Goran Milanovic is hoping the former American prodigy chooses to revitalize his career with FK Jagodina in the Serbian top flight.
Jul 24, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
One of the best stories is United States men’s soccer history is about to move past the “playing career” chapter.
Jul 24, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT
How big of a deal is the Chelsea legend signing for New York City FC? It’s up there.
Jul 24, 2014, 11:14 AM EDT
Lampard: “I want to test myself, carry on challenging myself, I want to be that leader and that person on and off the pitch that can make things happen for this club.”
Jul 24, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
The 36-year-old becomes New York City FC’s fourth player.
Jul 24, 2014, 10:25 AM EDT
The Manchester United boss proves that even Premier League training sessions sometimes echo your experiences on a youth travel team.
Jul 24, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT
The Reds striker spends some time with the NBCSN broadcast crew during Liverpool and AS Roma’s ‘Football at Fenway’
Jul 24, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT
The Ecuadorian star winger, 24, joins Gylfi Sigurdsson and Bafetimbi Gomis as players to beef up Garry Monk’s attack
Sporting Club announces plans for $75 million “soccer village” for US Soccer National Training Center
Jul 24, 2014, 9:01 AM EDT
Well, this sounds nice…
Jul 24, 2014, 8:23 AM EDT
The growing mess in Israel carried over onto the soccer fields of Austria, where Maccabi Haifa played a preseason friendly against Lille.
Jul 24, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT
Almost 90,000 fans in Los Angeles watched Manchester United put an old-fashioned punking on their hosts. And then both sides reacted.
Jul 23, 2014, 11:27 PM EDT
Surely one of these clubs enjoyed the sweeter side of this deal and here we set out to see who it was.
Jul 23, 2014, 10:40 PM EDT
Despite starting only 12 Premier League matches last year, James Milner has decided to remain at Manchester City and fight for his place.
Jul 23, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
Catch the San Jose Earthquakes and Chicago Fire live on NBCSN and online via Live Extra tonight at 10:30pm ET.
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