Thibaut Courtois has told Chelsea that he will not extend his contract with the club and will leave as a free agent next summer - unless they agree to complete his transfer to Real Madrid by the end of the transfer window.
Chelsea are now running out of time to decide whether to give up the Belgian without an adequate replacement coming in, or to reject the £35m offer from the European champions and lose Courtois with no compensation next year.
The Sun has reported that the club has been desperately trying to persuade Courtois to sign a new long-term deal and reject the offer from Los Blancos. However the World Cup golden glove winner says he has no such intention, preferring a move back to Madrid this summer or next.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri wants to speak personally with the wantaway keeper to try and dissuade him from leaving. However, as Courtois will return to training only two days before the transfer window closes, it seems unlikely that Sarri will be able to convince him to remain at Stamford Bridge beyond the summer 2019 expiration date.
Courtois was supposed to join Real Madrid in "a matter of hours" like 7 years ago.— Haysoos (@OmVArvind) July 31, 2018
What complicates the matter even more for Chelsea is that they have decided on a budget of £20m for a replacement, and at this late stage in the transfer season will be hard-pressed to find someone even close to the level of Courtois.
The Blues' pickings are slim, with possible targets Kasper Schmeichel and Jack Butland being way above their budget, Chelsea may find themselves left with Joe Hart who is valued at under £5m.
The Belgian international has made it clear that his mind is made up. The time to jump ship seems ripe due to Chelsea's struggles in the league last year failing to qualify for the Champions League, coupled with Courtois' desire to be closer to his young family in Madrid.