With the ongoing uncertainties over the futures of a number of Chelsea’s first-team stars ahead of the upcoming season, new head coach Maurizio Sarri is having to consider a number of options which may be recruited this summer to replace a number of his stars.
Eden Hazard, Willian, Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante are among the big names to have been linked with an exit from Stamford Bridge this summer. Another who seems increasingly likely to be departing from west London is goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
The Belgian shot stopper has just one year remaining on his current Blues deal and has been the subject of persistent speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid. Should the 26-year-old depart, Jordan Pickford has been identified as Chelsea’s preferred replacement.
That is according to Sky Sports News, who have reported that Sarri and his transfer team have identified the Everton star as their ‘primary target’ should Courtois vacate the number one spot between the posts this summer.
Pickford is two years Courtois’ junior at 24 but has already established himself as one of the Premier League’s finest goalkeepers. Having completed a £30m switch to Goodison Park from Sunderland last summer, Pickford went on to star in all 38 of Everton’s Premier League games last term.
His standout performances earned him the number one jersey in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer’s World Cup, at which he proved to be one of the stand-out goalkeeping performers of the tournament as he helped his side to reach the semi-finals.
Many even tipped Pickford to be awarded the tournament’s Golden Glove award in recognition of his contributions, only to be pipped by Thibaut Courtois, the man he could be set to replace at Stamford Bridge, following the Belgian’s outstanding efforts for Roberto Martinez’s semi-finalists.
A move to Chelsea would complete a whirlwind 12 months for Pickford, and would surely command a fee significantly upwards of the £30m which Everton paid to secure the goalkeeper’s services from Sunderland last summer.
Pickford’s arrival would be another significant boost to head coach Sarri, following the arrivals of Jorginho from Napoli and another goalkeeper, Rob Green, who is set to be Chelsea’s third-choice in goal following the completion of his free transfer from Huddersfield.