Reports: Jack Butland or Sergio Rico to replace Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea
When Chelsea sold Petr Cech to Arsenal in order to make Thibaut Courtois their No. 1 goalkeeper, the club must have thought they were getting a world class goalkeeper for the next decade. But just three years on, as news has broken of Courtois missing a training session this morning in order to force through a move to Real Madrid, it is clear that Chelsea will have to look for a new goalkeeper.
It has been suggested for some time now that Courtois preferred a move to Real Madrid, but all hopes that Chelsea could persuade him to stay came to an abrupt end today. Now with just three days left before the English transfer window closes, Chelsea have been left scrambling to sign a replacement for the Belgian shot stopper.
Two names that have been floated in the media as possible replacements for Courtois are Stoke City's Jack Butland and Sevilla's Sergio Rico. The Telegraph has mentioned both of them as favorites to land the goalkeeping job at Chelsea come next season.
Butland has been regarded as a top English goalkeeper for a long time now. With Stoke City getting relegated last season from the English top flight, it would not be too hard for Chelsea to persuade Butland into switching the bet365 Stadium for Stamford Bridge.
Stoke City might also be looking to cash in on their prized asset in order make up for the financial losses they are going to suffer because of being relegated.
However, question marks exist over Butland's ability to replace Courtois at Chelsea. Despite being an experienced Premier League goalkeeper, the English shot-stopper does have the habit of making mistakes from time to time.
He is also not the best option to play the style of football that new Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri, is looking to bring to the club - considering his lack of technical ability to play out from the goal.
As a result, Sevilla's Sergio Rico appears to be the best option available to Chelsea at the moment. According to FourFourTwo, the Spanish goalkeeper has a €40 million release clause in his contract, and the club should have no problem doubling his wages.
Rico has great shot stopping skills and also far superior ability than Butland to play with the ball at his feet, which are very important in Sarri's system.
In years past, Roman Abramovich would not have thought twice before triggering the release clause in Rico's contract. But in recent times, we have seen Chelsea lose the ruthlessness that they once possessed in the transfer market.
After several summers of underwhelming transfer activity, it appears that the club will take the easy way out again and sign the English keeper. So Chelsea fans should start preparing themselves to see Jack Butland between the sticks for the club when the Premier League returns.