So often in the football transfer market, deals are made with an element of compromise. Even the elite sometimes have to turn their attentions elsewhere after failing to land their preferred target. For example, when Neymar signed for Barcelona rather than their rivals Real Madrid, their efforts were redirected to make Gareth Bale their desired galatico of the summer instead.
Consequently, deals which are beneficial to all parties are rare. The extension of Thibaut Courtois’ loan from Chelsea to Atletico Madrid for a third consecutive year is one such example.
By agreeing to the deal, the Spanish side benefit from another year with one of the world’s most coveted goalkeepers. On a personal level, Courtois is not forced to relocate and can instead focus on his development as a player. Meanwhile, the Belgian’s agent will be pleased to have ensured his client remains in the shop window by playing in a league where he already has no shortage of admirers. Finally, Chelsea achieve their ambition of retaining the services of a talented prospect while he gains regular first team action. This allows the Blues to keep Petr Cech, arguably the Premier League’s best goalkeeper, as their number one. The Czech was a trusted lieutenant during Jose Mourinho’s first spell at the club, and the Portuguese would have been loathe to sell him.
If Cech can maintain his good form throughout the season, the dilemma of how Chelsea should handle their embarrassment of goalkeeping riches will return next year. For now though Mourinho can focus on other pressing issues, such as the acquisition of a striker.