Reports: Juventus, Madrid to fight it out for £50m-rated Premier League keeper
What's the story?
Gianluigi Buffon has enjoyed 16 immensely successful years with Juventus and has made a name for himself as one of the best goalkeepers to have ever graced the game. Age has seemingly had little effect on the Italian shot-stopper, and he has consistently performed at the highest level.
However, Buffon is now nearing 40, and it seems like the keeper is close to hanging up his boots. Following Italy's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Buffon retired from international football, and Juventus now appear to be preparing for his retirement from club football.
In case you didn't know...
Thibaut Courtois began his career at Belgian side Genk and won the Belgian Pro League in 2010-11. Courtois's performances were lauded and he was named Goalkeeper of the Year in the league, earning himself a move to Chelsea in 2011. He was promptly loaned out to Atletico Madrid where he quickly established himself as the first-choice goalkeeper.
Courtois spent three seasons on loan in Madrid, winning one La Liga title, one Copa del Rey and the UEFA Europa League. He returned to Chelsea in the 2014-15 season and won the Premier League that year, keeping 12 clean sheets in the process. Since his return to London, he has won the Premier League on two occasions, and one League Cup.
The heart of the matter
Thibaut Courtois has been locked in negotiations with Chelsea for a while now and has reportedly demanded to be the best-paid goalkeeper in the Premier League. Courtois' contract runs out in 2019, and the Belgian has been stalling on signing a contract.
Juventus will be forced to compete with other clubs if they choose to go after the keeper, with the likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain showing an interest in him. Real Madrid have been linked with Courtois in the past, with the keeper even stating that he would like to play in Madrid at some point in the future.
Chelsea won't let go of Courtois easily, and it's more than likely that they will fulfil his contract demands. However, if he does, for some reason, choose to turn down the contract extension, Juventus will find it difficult to beat out Real Madrid.
Madrid have made no secret of the fact that they view Keylor Navas as a temporary solution, and they will doggedly pursue Courtois if they feel like De Gea is no longer a viable option.