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Official: Thibaut Courtois Signs New 5 Year Contract

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Goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon believes Thibaut Courtois will benefit from playing first-team football out on loan before commencing his career at Stamford Bridge.

The 19-year-old goalkeeper completed his transfer from Belgian side Genk last week, before joining Atletico Madrid on a season-long loan, where he is in line to replace David De Gea between the sticks after the Spaniard signed for our Barclays Premier League rivals Manchester United.

Lollichon believes Chelsea has invested in a star of the future, and will be monitoring him closely while he is in Spain.

'I have followed him for the last year and a half, and for me he is a big talent in Europe,' the Frenchman told the official Chelsea website.

'A lot of clubs wanted him but we had a very good relationship after the first meeting between his parents and the club, and after that he had to choose.

'I think the best way might be to stay on loan for two years and after that, he can come to England and discover the English football for another year at a Premier League club. That is very important because the Premier League is a very special environment for a goalkeeper, and then he could join us to continue to learn.

'He is very mature for his age, just 19, and he is very calm. I watched him in the last game of last season, the Belgian league play-off, and he was so calm. He made three fantastic saves in the last 10 minutes, and if he had conceded a goal in this moment they were finished.

'I like his personality, he is very intelligent, and knows what he wants to do which is very important. I think with Jamal Blackman, Matej Delac and him, we have a very good future.'

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Has he made his debut yet?

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Has he made his debut yet?

Apparently he was an unused sub in Atletico's first Europa League match against Stromsgodset. Don't know if they've played any friendlies in addition to that.

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Has he made his debut yet?

He was on the bench for their last game in the Europa league qualifiers. Though I guess he'd only had a few days training so we should try not to read too much into this yet...

Poor Diego Forlan - wins the Copa America and 4 days later he's playing Stromsgodset!

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'I think the best way might be to stay on loan for two years and after that, he can come to England and discover the English football for another year at a Premier League club. That is very important because the Premier League is a very special environment for a goalkeeper, and then he could join us to continue to learn.'

Very impressed with what Lollichon has to say here. Sounds like exactly the right schedule to me. Fingers crossed all goes according to plan.

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^ Makes no sense at all to me. He isn't going to be our No 1 keeper for a minimum of 5 years (and probably never). The only time we might want to actually use him is as an U21 aged keeper - but Lochillon reckons he wont be with us till later. It is one thing hanging on to a known product, Hilario, as a foreign keeper, but quite another grooming one for a few years time. Foreign strikers are fine. Foreign reserve keepers are a waste of a squad place. We might as well take part shares in Brazilian 13 year olds for all the practical use he'll bring.

(Unless we reckon the squad restrictions might get blown out of the water by the EU soonish, which is a reasonable claim to make IMO, though not one I've heard many make).

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So we only buy a keeper when we definitely need to replace Cech or we buy one who is or will be homegrown qualified?

I think the club have taken out an insurance policy on Cech with all these other keepers, I don't see a direct succession plan but I don't think we need one.

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^ I think you start first with the quality of the keeper. If you think you've identified a lad with the potential to become our number 1 I'd say you certainly take him and structure his development without regard for his nationality and any impact that may have on the future squad. This is so not least because of the point you make about the difficulty of predicting where uefa regulations and/or EU law will stand in three years time. Only if you later determine that the young man really does have the quality to make the squad do you then consider the implications. In which case you'd create a checklist for yourself something like: -

- Is there, at that time or in the then foreseeable future, any issue with the number of overseas nationals we wish to register?

- If there is an issue then are there any overseas players that we would prefer to sacrifice in order to accommodate him?

- If so, is he a sufficient upgrade to our goalkeeping cadre to make such a sacrifice worthwhile?

If the lad ticks all of the boxes then he has a really good job and we have a new keeper. A keeper who, for whatever reason, we prefer to the fella being replaced. If he does not tick all of the boxes, look for a fee, move him on and begin again.

In any case what's the alternative? Decide that we will always go to the market for a new first choice keeper? What if, at the time we are looking, the best candidate is an overseas national; don't we then end up with the same problem anyway? Or do we decide to ignore the best candidate and plump for the best homegrown player available, no matter how much less good he may be than the foreign option?

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Any reason Lollichon didn't mention Rhys Taylor among them? particularly when Blackman is mentioned?

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I don't quite understand this transfer. The guy is talented but let's face it, not going to start over Cech for 5-8 years. Plus it looks like he will take a foreign spot (correct me if I'm wrong).

I don't really like the loan either. It sounds like they have two great keepers (one a young club product?) and he will have loads of competition and less starts. If it was me (yeah, yeah football manager) I'd loan him to a club where he is a guaranteed starter (provided that he isn't an absolute failure) or buy a pair of homegrown goalkeepers in the first place.

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