Thursday 18 October 2018

Thibaut Courtois absent from Chelsea training as Real Madrid link remains

The Belgium goalkeeper has been linked with the Spanish giants over the course of the summer.

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was absent from training on Monday. (Peter Byrne/PA)
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was absent from training on Monday. (Peter Byrne/PA)

By Mark Mann-Bryans, Press Association Sport

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois failed to report for training on Monday as doubts over his future at Stamford Bridge intensified.

Press Association Sport understands the 26-year-old was absent from the Blues’ Cobham training base despite being due to make his return from a summer break.

Courtois, who has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, was handed an extended holiday after helping Belgium to a third-place finish at the World Cup.

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Courtois helped Belgium to finish third in the World Cup. (Adam Davy/PA)

However, it is believed Courtois failed to show up amid reports he has already told new Blues boss Maurizio Sarri he is keen to leave the club before Thursday’s transfer deadline.

Chelsea are reportedly looking at the likes of Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak and Jack Butland of Stoke as potential replacements should Courtois depart.

Courtois’ Belgian team-mate Eden Hazard is also being linked with a move away but Willian insists he is happy at the club despite revealing Barcelona made an approach for his services.

“I’m a Chelsea player,” Willian told ESPN Brasil.

“I always made it clear that what I wanted was to stay in the club. The only club I knew that really made an official offer for me was Barcelona.

“But I have my head here and I intend to continue in the club unless the club wants to sell me. But my head is here in the club.”

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Sarri saw his Chelsea side lose to Manchester City in the Community Shield. (Mike Egerton/PA)

Sarri’s spell in charge started with a 2-0 Community Shield defeat to Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.

After the Wembley clash, he said he would sanction Courtois’ departure if the goalkeeper expresses a desire to leave.

The transfer window for incoming players to Premier League clubs closes this Thursday, so time is against Chelsea if they are to recruit any would-be replacements.

Chelsea defender David Luiz has urged Courtois and Hazard to stay, while insisting the club have enough quality even if the pair leave.

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David Luiz believes Chelsea would cope if they lost their star players. (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Chelsea wants for the best players to stay,” Luiz said.

“They know Chelsea a lot, so they know what they’ve had here, the fun they’ve had here. Everybody loves them and I hope they can stay.

“If they decide to leave, I think we will continue with fantastic players.”

Press Association

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