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Friday, March 2, 2018

Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois interested in PSG move after approach - source

PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain have made Thibaut Courtois aware of their interest in signing him and the Chelsea goalkeeper is open to their advances, a source close to the club told ESPN FC.
However, while PSG are keen on Courtois, a number of things could influence whether the 25-year-old Belgium international actually ends up at Parc des Princes.
According to the source, the Ligue 1 leaders' sporting director, Antero Henrique, has made signing a new goalkeeper a priority for next season -- along with a long-term heir to Thiago Motta's deep-lying midfield role -- because Alphonse Areola, Kevin Trapp and Lassana Diarra have not yet convinced him that they deserve to be guaranteed members of the starting XI.
Informal talks between PSG and Courtois have taken place as the keeper has yet to commit to a new contract with Chelsea, but no formal interest has been registered.
The source said that Courtois has indicated that he is not against the idea of potentially signing for PSG, but both sides made it clear during their meeting that there are certain factors that could influence a potential transfer.
On PSG's side, UEFA's financial fair play watchdog is still a consideration, and until European football's governing body is totally satisfied with all aspects of the club's finances, the possibility of selling players remains significant.
There is also the question of coach Unai Emery, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season and PSG only willing to sanction an extension in the event of reaching the Champions League semifinals -- which would trigger an additional 12-month deal for Emery anyway.
Depending on what happens between now and the end of the current campaign, as well as who is available next summer, the Qatari-owned club could be prepared to pay off Emery.
Courtois' current coach, Antonio Conte, is reportedly on a shortlist of candidates to be approached in the event that Emery's departure becomes clear, and former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas is also a name of interest.
As for Courtois, the source said that he is keen to see whether or not PSG can overturn their 3-1 first-leg deficit against Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 with the return leg at Parc des Princes next week.
Courtois, whose children live in Madrid, is still keen on a return to the Spanish capital and a return to Atletico Madrid or joining Real Madrid would be more of a priority for him that a move to Paris.
The source said that interest from the Madrid clubs complicates matter as PSG are interested in Atletico's Jan Oblak and Real's Keylor Navas. A move for one of them, notably Oblak, could open the door for Courtois to move back to Spain.