Maybe Thibaut Courtois is relishing getting back to football after his World Cup break, as he reports for duty at Cobham this weekend? Maybe he’s telling us he wants to wear Blue? Maybe he’s coyly agitating for a move to Madrid?
“Can’t wait to be back! #1”
Frankly, it’s not at all clear how we should read the message Courtois posted on Instagram on Friday. It could mean a lot of different things.
Can’t wait to be back where? Madrid, where he was happy and his children live? Chelsea, where he’s the No.1 goalkeeper (but wears No.13) but as slippery as a wet ball in contract negotiations?
Or back to playing with Belgium, since that’s the uniform he’s wearing in the photo he chose?
Questions, questions, questions.
And the answer to all of them is — who knows? Thibaut knows, and that’s about it.
The rest of us will have to wait until this standoff ends in one of three scenarios — Courtois signs a new contract, Courtois is sold to Madrid or Courtois plays out his contract and leaves on a free transfer next summer.
When one of those happens, maybe he’ll send out a social media message that actually says something.
His agent Christophe Henrotay, though, isn’t in any doubt about what’s happening.
“I have been reading everywhere that Chelsea are saying it is up to Thibaut, but he has made it clear to the club that the best option for him is to move to Madrid. For him this is a big decision because he wants to be near his family, and there is an offer in place for Chelsea to accept.”
In Henrotay’s version of this story, Courtois is only being kept in England by Chelsea’s refusal to make a deal with Madrid, at least on the terms that are currently being offered. Maybe he’s telling it like it is. Or maybe he’s pressuring Chelsea to up their contract offer, an outcome Courtois hinted at after the World Cup.
“We have seen suggestions that it is about money, and it is true he could get an increase with a move. But he has turned down a better offer elsewhere [ed.note: PSG?] because this is more than a financial decision.
“Throughout this it has been important for everyone to be reasonable, and the buying club has come up with a reasonable offer for a player who has one year left on his contract when they know they could sign him without a fee in 12 months.
”It is understandable people might be upset because he wants to leave the club, we accept that. But this is a human decision based on someone wanting to be close to his children – and that is a reasonable thing too.”
-Christophe Henrotay; source: The Sun
Meanwhile, the sands of time keep running out on the transfer window. We see you, 5pm BST Thursday, we see you.