Barcelona are believed to be keeping tabs on Chelsea goalkeeper Thibault Courtois as they prepare for the departure of current Number One Victor Valdes.
Valdes has already confirmed he will leave the club at the end of the season when his current contract expires, having changed his original decision to seek a move during this summer.
The Catalan club are interested in Borussia Moenchengladbach shot-stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, with the 21-year-old highly rated in his homeland of Germany having been tipped as the successor to current international Manuel Neuer.
However, with Courtois on-loan with Atletico Madrid for the third consecutive season, Barcelona have been able to take a good look at the Belgian 21-year-old, and the Daily Mail is reporting that he has overtaken ter Stegen on Gerardo Martino’s wish-list.
Current Blues goalkeeper Petr Cech has shown no signs of moving aside to allow Courtois to begin his career at Stamford Bridge, with the rather astounding fact that he is yet to play for Chelsea despite joining the club from Genk in 2011.
He has already made 11 appearances for his national side and is now established as Belgium’s first choice goalkeeper, but any move by Barcelona to sign Courtois could prove difficult due to Chelsea’s desire to keep hold of the hot prospect.
While ter Stegen is believed to be valued at around £10m, Courtois could cost up to £30m, with the Blues reluctant to sell one of their best young prospects to one of their European rivals.
Chelsea defender David Luiz has admitted that he turned down a move to the Spanish champions this summer, with Martino keen to bolster his defensive options. These issues were highlighted when they conceded twice to Valencia on Sunday, although Martino was content to wait until January to bring in reinforcements when questioned during the summer transfer window.
But with Valdes – who has been with the club for his entire career since 2002 – departure at the end of the season, Martino will have more than just a defensive issue on his hands if he is to bring in Courtois.