Suddenly, it’s all about goalkeepers when it comes to Barcelona, who have been solid and unworried with that position for about a decade. The news of Victor Valdes looking to move on in the near future brings new options with it, the most interesting of them might be young Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, belonging to Chelsea but playing for Atletico Madrid.
At the age of 20, Courtois had no problem stepping in for another very young goalkeeper, David De Gea, who was sold by Atletico to Manchester United in 2011. Courtois was purchased by Chelsea at around the same time, but there wasn’t any chance of him getting any opportunities with the squad as long as Petr Cech was there, so he was loaned out to Atletico. He did so well there during his first season he was loaned for another, and Atletico have already asked Chelsea for another extension on that loan, keeping a clean sheet in almost 50% of his teams matches so far.
Barcelona do not want a player they know they’ll try and replace pretty soon, so all the talk about Pepe Reina as their next goalkeeper doesn’t seem too reasonable, at least not as a first team choice. Courtois, the youngest keeper to ever play for the Belgian national team, with 7 caps since making his debut for the side on November 2011, is much better suited for being crowned as a key piece in the future of the club.
Chelsea have great plans for the young goalkeeper, but if Cech doesn’t show any kind of serious decline in his ability, which he isn’t, there’s a good chance of Coutois being more valuable by being sold. It’s likely that it’ll cost €12-15 million to get him from Chelsea, a team he hasn’t played a single match for.
Courtois grew up through the Genk youth system, playing one full season for the senior side during 2010-2011, starting 40 matches for the team before his 19th birthday.