Chelsea may offload Petr Cech with Thibaut Courtois set to be No 1
Chelsea will consider allowing Petr Cech to leave Stamford Bridge if the goalkeeper does not want to be understudy to Thibaut Courtois.
Manager Jose Mourinho wants 22-year-old Courtois to return from his Atletico Madrid loan and start pre-season as No 1 goalkeeper while Cech recovers from surgery on a dislocated shoulder.
Cech will then have to wait for an opportunity to try to regain the Chelsea goalkeeping gloves he has held for the past decade from 22-year-old Courtois. If Cech is not prepared to be back-up, Chelsea will sell the 31-year-old or even loan him out and find a new No 2.
With Financial Fair Play now an issue for Chelsea, the club could demand more than £10m for Cech and save on his £100,000-a-week wages. Courtois has been offered a new five-year contract worth around £70,000 a week.
The matter is causing much debate inside Stamford Bridge and has split opinion among coaching staff and club chiefs. How it is resolved could have a large bearing on the atmosphere within Chelsea, which grew tense towards the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are ready to offer Romelu Lukaku a new contract, despite him starting only one Premier League game for the club, and may be willing to loan the striker back to Everton next season to help inflate his value.
Lukaku's prospects at Stamford Bridge will recede even further when Chelsea sign Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa this summer.
However, the London club are understood to believe that another strong loan season for the Belgian – he scored 15 goals in 31 games for Everton in this campaign – could enable them to make a healthy profit on the £18m they paid Anderlecht for him three years ago.
Everton are understood to be ready to use their entire summer transfer budget if Lukaku becomes available and believe they would have to pay £20m to get the player.
However, taking Lukaku on loan for another season would be the ideal option for Roberto Martinez, because he needs to bring in three or four reinforcements in the summer to enable the club to combine the Premier League and Europa League next season.
Martinez is also waiting on a decision about the future of another of his key loan players last season – Gareth Barry.
The 33-year-old is out of contract at Manchester City on June 30 and Arsenal have also expressed an interest in the midfielder, whose positional sense and dependability allowed Ross Barkley to blossom.
One option available to Barry is a move to Major League Soccer in the United States, to play for New York City FC – owned by Manchester City's benefactors. But since that new MLS franchise does not begin playing for another season, Everton will seek to persuade the midfielder to stay with them for another year. (© Daily Telegraph, London)