Belgian football expert Kristof Terreur has given an update on the future of Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who has reportedly gone AWOL.
Courtois failed to return to pre-season training yesterday as he looks to push through a move to Real Madrid.
Terreur suggests that Chelsea have been aware of the players desire to return to Madrid – where he spent three seasons on loan at Real’s city rivals Atletico before returning to Stamford Bridge in 2014 – ever since the 25-year-old refused to sign a contract extension last season.
Los Blancos have already tabled a £35 million bid for the talented shot-stopper, although Chelsea’s stance has always been that they will not allow the Belgium international leave until they have signed an adequate replacement.
The Stamford Bridge club now face a race against time to sign a new ‘keeper before 5pm Thursday, or they will face the prospect of Courtois running down his contract and leaving next summer for free.
“Chelsea are searching for a solution for this situation because they have already known for a while, since January when Courtois rejected a new contract offer, that he wasn’t going to sign a new deal,” Terreur told BBC Radio 5 live.
“They know his personal situation with his kids living with his former partner in Madrid, him wanting to be closer to them and pursuing a challenge in Madrid too.
“His mind has never left Madrid after he spent three years on loan over there. Still, he dreams of Madrid and that’s what Chelsea know too.
“Chelsea have told Real Madrid that until they have found a replacement they cannot give the move a green light.
“It might end up on Thursday at four o’clock that they suddenly find a new goalkeeper.
“I don’t think the club can take a gamble on letting him go for free next summer. Now they will get £30-£40m for him and they can still buy a good replacement.”