4 Cheaper alternatives to Jan Oblak for replacing Courtois at Chelsea
With Thibaut Courtois failing to report for training on Monday at when due for Chelsea, that was a clear signal to the board that his heart is set on a transfer out of the club. With Real Madrid looking increasingly likely to be his next destination in a £30m move, and with one year left on the Belgian's contract, it is in Chelsea's best interest to sell him now rather than lose him on a free next summer.
There are just two days left until the transfer window closes in England on Thursday, and Chelsea risk not having a replacement if Courtois leaves after the transfer deadline (as other European clubs can still buy EPL players until the 31st of August).
There are reports indicating that The Blues have identified Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid as their primary replacement target, and are set to trigger his release clause of £89m, which would be the record deal for a goalkeeper if the transfer goes ahead, significantly larger than the £67m Liverpool expended to get Alisson Becker from Roma.
Signed as Thibaut Courtois' replacement in 2014, there is no doubt that Jan Oblak is one of the finest goalkeepers in Europe, having distinguished himself over the last four seasons with Atletico Madrid and is arguably an upgrade on the error-prone Belgian.
However, the new contract he signed at Atletico Madrid in February skyrocketed his transfer value, as the La Liga club increased his release clause to get as much money in the event of the sale of one of the most in-demand goalies in the world.
Chelsea are no longer the spendthrifts they once were in the transfer market during the early years of Abramovic's reign, as the club's new financial structure means there is a paucity of funds available for transfers. So spending £87m on one goalkeeper doesn't represent good value for money (despite Oblak's undisputed brilliance), as the club would need to get one or two other players before the close of the transfer window on evidence of their performance in the Community Shield on Sunday.
In a bid to save cost and invest the money in other players, here are four cheaper but quality alternatives to Jan Oblak The Blues should consider as Thibaut Courtois' potential replacement.
Source of values: Transfermarkt.com
#4 Keylor Navas from Real Madrid (€18m)
Keylor Navas has had a trophy-filled career at Real Madrid since his transfer to the Bernabeu from Levante in 2014. You have to feel sorry for him however despite all the successes he has achieved in the Spanish capital club, as his performances have largely gone unappreciated.
Although he is prone to the occasional gaffe (as Thibaut Courtois himself and most other quality goalkeepers are), he is not as bad as Real Madrid have made him out to be. Despite being a mainstay in all the club's successes in recent seasons, Navas had always found his future up in debate as the club went all out for the purchase of David de Gea, and the 31-year-old was infamously at the airport on August 31 for a flight to Manchester having been used as a make-weight in the deal to bring De Gea to Spain, before the fax-enabled collapse of the deal.
No sooner had the interest in De Gea died off and Navas almost guaranteed about his future did the rumours about Courtois begin to surface, and the Costa Rican has his first choice spot at Real Madrid threatened once more.
If Real Madrid do purchase Thibaut Courtois, it would make a lot of sense for Chelsea to sign Keylor Navas as his replacement, possibly in a straight swap deal.
With him, they will be bringing in a quality goalkeeper with a winning mentality, having won all major domestic and European trophies in recent seasons, and with 83 caps for Los Ticos of Costa Rica, he is an experienced international and a much cheaper alternative to Jan Oblak.