The Chelsea fans in the Transfer Tavern are growing increasingly concerned by rumours linking their star player’s with moves away from Stamford Bridge this summer.
Rumours concerning the futures of both Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois have persisted since the beginning of the season, and if reports are to be believed then it appears Real Madrid are the front-runners to sign the aforementioned pairing. Courtois’ current deal expires in the summer of 2019, and at present, there appears to be no progress being made concerning an extension.
However, Courtois recently admitted to The London Evening Standard that he is “committed to Chelsea” and implied that discussions over a new contract will begin at the end of the season. Although Courtois’ admission is a positive sign for Chelsea supporters, it must be considered that plenty can change in a short space of time, and his comments do not guarantee that he will remain at the club beyond the summer transfer window.
With that in mind it appears that the hierarchy at Chelsea are already preparing for the potential of life after Courtois, as reports from Corriere dello Sport via The Sun believe they plan to make a bid for Gianluigi Donnarumma if the Belgian international decides to leave the club. Although Donnarumma has been in fine form for the Rossoneri this season and is one of the brightest young goalkeepers in European football, The Blues should abandon their pursuit of the Italian international and instead make a bid for Bernd Leno (valued at £12.6 million by Transfermarkt).
At just 19-years-of-age, Donnarumma has the potential to become one of the worlds best goalkeepers, but he still has plenty to learn. His inexperience cost him against Arsenal last Thursday when he fumbled Granit Xhaka’s effort into the bottom corner despite getting two solid hands to the ball.
That was just one mistake, but it was a mistake which highlighted his inexperience in high-pressure situations, and that should concern the Chelsea hierarchy who currently have him on their radar. On the other hand, Leno – who is 26-years-old – has already made a whopping 296 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen since he made his debut for the club in 2011.
Leno has bags of experience in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League, and he is already just two clean sheets away from achieving a century of clean sheets in the German top-flight. He has consistently proven that he is a top goalkeeper throughout that period.
If Chelsea want to challenge for the Premier League title once again next year then they will need an experienced, reliable goalkeeper between the sticks to establish the foundations of their defensive unit. In an ideal world, the man to undertake that role would be Thibaut Courtois, but if he eventually decides to embark on a new challenge this summer then Conte should favour a move for Leno over the inexperienced Donnarumma.