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Thibaut Courtois believes World Cup displays warrant better Chelsea contract


Thibaut Courtois has suggested his performances for Belgium at the World Cup would merit of an improvement in the contract offer from Chelsea that has been on the table since the end of last year, with the goalkeeper to address his future in the next few weeks.

The Belgian kept three clean sheets in his team’s seven matches in Russia, including two against England, as Roberto Martínez’s side secured their highest ever finish at the tournament in third place. Yet, while he has been a regular for the last four years, Courtois’ current deal at Chelsea has drifted into its last 12 months with an improved offer, believed to be worth around £200,000-a-week, unsigned since talks took place last December.

The 26-year-old, secured from Genk in 2011 and hugely impressive initially through a three-year loan at Atlético Madrid, has consistently stated he would only discuss his future upon the conclusion of the World Cup. While the Belgian is settled in London, his former partner lives in Madrid with the couple’s two children and Real have long retained an interest in bringing him back to La Liga.

Yet, while that interest has never been formalised, Courtois has not ruled out remaining at Stamford Bridge for the final year of his current deal if the new contract offer does not meet his expectations. That would alarm Chelsea, who would rather sell him for a fee this summer than risk losing him under the Bosman ruling next year. “I will be coming back, for sure, and I will see what they want [to do] and how they say it,” said Courtois. “Obviously with this World Cup, I think what was on the table obviously is different than what I can have, maybe.

“In this World Cup, I have ignored all the speculation, all the rumours. But now, in the next few days, I will have a chat with my agent and see what Chelsea told him, and then we will talk. But I feel happy at Chelsea, it’s not that I necessarily want to leave. People always complain that players don’t comply with their contracts, but maybe they do. I don’t think they will keep someone with my qualities on the bench, even if I don’t sign [a new contract]. But maybe [staying] is possible, because I like it in London.”

Courtois, who helped Belgium secure third place with a 2-0 victory over England on Saturday, was asked about Eden Hazard’s post-match comments with the forward having indicated that “after six wonderful years at Chelsea it might be time to discover something different”. He, too, has been courted by Real. “Wherever I go, Eden must come along,” said the goalkeeper. “We will not let each other go. But first, a vacation.”

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The landscape has changed at Chelsea since Courtois and his teammates celebrated their FA Cup success back in May, with Antonio Conte and his staff having been relieved of their duties and Maurizio Sarri now installed as head coach. That protracted process was only concluded last week, though Courtois implied that the club’s board had long since informed the players that Conte would be leaving.

“It’s hard to talk about [the appointment of Sarri] because I don’t know exactly what happened, added Courtois. “But the decision that was made a few days ago, I think as a group we expected that to happen a longer time ago because we heard what the board said to us already after the season. Then it takes until now [to happen]. I don’t think it’s easy for a new manager to come in and shape us in a few weeks.

“I think the fans need to understand we will need some time to adapt to the new manager and a different style. I know Dries Mertens [who worked under Sarri at Napoli] and he told me really well about Sarri, so I’m looking forward to come back and win some prizes.”



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