Thibaut Courtois expects to end Petr Cech's 10-year grip at Chelsea
Thibaut Courtois is convinced he will start the season as Chelsea's No 1 and end Petr Cech's 10-year grip on the club's goalkeeping gloves.
Courtois, the Belgium international, returned to pre-season training with Chelsea last week and made his first appearance for the club in the first half of the 3-0 defeat by Werder Bremen on Sunday.
Manager, Jose Mourinho, insists he has yet to decide whether Courtois or Cech will start the first Premier League game against Burnley and has vowed to give both men equal chances in Chelsea's remaining pre-season friendlies.
But friends of Courtois claim the 22-year-old is preparing himself to start against Burnley and fully expects to be given the nod over Cech.
Courtois made it clear that he only wanted to return from his loan spell at Atletico Madrid to play and he has held off signing a new contract before finding out whether that is the case.
Should Courtois be proved right in his belief that he is Mourinho's number one, then Cech has already made it clear that he does not want to sit on the substitutes' bench.
Chelsea play three Premier League games before the summer transfer window shuts and Mourinho may want to check Courtois is up to the physical demands of English football before making a final decision on Cech's future.
Mourinho, though, has warned he is prepared to keep both Courtois and Cech, even if it means one of them is unhappy on the bench.
David de Gea arrived at Manchester United from Atletico Madrid with a big reputation, but initially struggled with the more physical nature of the Premier League. Courtois showed no signs of having difficulties with high balls into his box when he played for Atletico against Chelsea in the Champions League last season.
Paris St-Germain have already made an enquiry over Cech and are ready to bid £10m if they are given the slightest encouragement the 32-year-old will be sold. Monaco have also shown interest.
Despite signing Costa Rica international Keylor Navas, Real Madrid are also thought to be watching Chelsea's goalkeeping situation. Like Courtois, Cech's contract expires in 2016.
Real have long been fans of Courtois, while Carlo Ancelotti knows all about Cech after managing him at Chelsea.
Mark Schwarzer has signed a new one-year contract at Chelsea, giving Mourinho plenty of cover in the goalkeeping position. (© Daily Telegraph)