Chelsea are reported to have placed a £73million world-record valuation on Thibaut Courtois amid fresh claims Real Madrid are planning a summer swoop for the Belgium goalkeeper.
Real are reportedly planning to make the signing of a new goalkeeper this summer one of their top priorities and, of course, have a long-standing interest in Manchester United’s David De Gea.
But there is growing belief among the Real hierarchy that Belgium keeper Courtois would represent a more gettable target, with De Gea seemingly content to stay at Old Trafford for the duration of the four-year deal the Spaniard signed last summer.
Courtois is understood to be keen to return to La Liga in the future after a three-year spell on loan from Chelsea at Atletico Madrid.
Chelsea responded to an enquiry by Real for Courtois last summer by putting a £73m fee on his head, more than double the Gianluigi Buffon fee for his switch to Juventus from Parma in 2001.
Despite struggling for his best form, Chelsea do not think his value has dropped and he remains one of the best young keepers in the world.
He has more than three years of his contract remaining and, having let Petr Cech join Arsenal last summer, Chelsea would only let Courtois go for a massive fee.
Real’s move for De Gea collapsed on transfer deadline day when a faulty fax machine prevented the paperwork being done in time. He signed a new four-year contract but it is thought to include a Real release clause.
And Real might feel they have been given further encouragement by Courtois’ revelation on Tuesday that he enjoys playing behind Belgium’s defence rather than Chelsea’s.
He said: “We’re still conceding too many goals and that’s not entirely the defence’s fault, even though I prefer playing with Belgium’s back four.”