Exclusive: Thibaut Courtois attempts to force Chelsea exit by going AWOL ahead of new season
Thibaut Courtois has attempted to force his Chelsea exit by going AWOL on the eve of the new season.
And that leaves Chelsea in a race to land a new goalkeeper, with Stoke City’s Jack Butland and Sevilla’s Sergio Rico on their shortlist, before Thursday’s transfer deadline. Chelsea are expected to bid for Butland and is rated as the most likely goalkeeper arrival this week, although he is not the only name on the club’s radar.Having failed to show up at Wembley to watch the Blues lose their Community Shield clash against Manchester City, Courtois stayed away from training on Monday when head coach Maurizio Sarri hoped to talk to him.
The situation has echoes of Diego Costa going on strike to force a move to Atletico Madrid last season, as Courtois waits to find out whether he will be allowed to join Real Madrid.Real have bid £35million for Courtois and the Belgian’s agent Christophe Henrotay last week called on the club to let him go.
Sarri wanted to speak to Courtois face-to-face, but the 26-year-old has remained in Belgium, where he was honoured by his former club Genk at the weekend. Courtois was due to join England centre back Gary Cahill in the Wembley stands for the Community Shield on Sunday, but did not appear without offering any explanation.He was then meant to join Cahill, Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante, Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud in a 4pm training session at Chelsea’s Cobham base, but, again, the 26-year-old was absent.
Hazard posted pictures on social media of himself back in London and looking happy. He has assured Chelsea he will continue to give his best for the club, despite missing out on a move to Real.
Sarri appeared to open the exit door for Courtois by insisting he only wanted players who are 100 per cent motivated to play for Chelsea and it now appears the club will have to sell him.
Chelsea can wait until after Thursday’s Premier League deadline to seal the sale of Courtois, who has entered the final year of his contract, because Real have until the end of August to sign players.
But the Blues must sign a replacement before the Premier League transfer window shuts at 5pm on Thursday. A bid of around £25million may be enough to land Butland from Championship club Stoke and he is currently rated as the most likely signing with so little time in the window left.
Butland wants to move to a Premier League club to enhance his bid to challenge Pickford as England’s number one and a move to Chelsea would do just that.
He has been at Stoke since 2013 and is well known to Chelsea scouts who watched many of his performances last season while checking on Kurt Zouma’s progress during his spell on loan at the bet 365 Stadium.
Rico is also on the list of goalkeepers former coach Christope Lollichon has recommended to Chelsea and Sevilla are keen on Batshuayi, but Everton will not entertain a late bid for Jordan Pickford.While Courtois tries to force Chelsea into a corner over his future, the club are willing to pay Hazard over £300,000-a-week to extend his contract, which has two years to run. But the 27-year-old is unlikely to rush into signing it despite accepting he will remain at Stamford Bridge this season.
Chelsea have also offered a new £290,000-a-week deal to midfielder Kante, who returned to pre-season training and remains happy at the club.Willian is another player staying at Chelsea this season, despite confirming that Barcelona made a bid to sign him.
“I am a Chelsea player,” said Willian. “I have always made it clear that I want to stay here. The only club I know of that made a genuine offer for me was Barcelona. But my head is here and I have the intention of staying as long as the club don’t want to sell me.”
Willian returned late from his summer break, but the Brazilian has no problem with Sarri and is looking forward to working with the former Napoli coach.
“This is a new era, with a new manager and I've had a good conversation with him. I hope we can enjoy a lot of victories,” said Willian.
“Sarri is a coach who likes to play football; he has a style of playing that is similar to Manchester City. We’ve only just started working with him, but in the first few days we’ve seen that he is a coach who likes to play the ball out from the back and likes his teams to play football. He will be very important for us.”
Chelsea play their final friendly of pre-season against Lyon at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, with French sources claiming they are attempting to sign Nabil Fekir. Liverpool almost signed Fekir earlier in the summer, but reports from France have claimed Chelsea are ready to make a bid for the £60m-rated player before Thursday.https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2018/08/06/exclusive-thibaut-courtois-attempts-force-chelsea-exit-going/