Chelsea close in on Jack Butland after Thibaut Courtois goes AWOL ahead of expected Real Madrid move

Chelsea have opened negotiations over a move for the 25-year-old England goalkeeper, who is expected to cost them roughly an initial £20m rising to a potential £30m through add-ons

Jack Pitt-Brooke@jackpittbrooke
Tuesday 07 August 2018 07:11
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Chelsea 2018/19 Premier League profile

Chelsea have moved to sign Jack Butland from Stoke City as Thibaut Courtois' replacement, with the Belgium goalkeeper adamant on forcing a move to Real Madrid.

Chelsea have opened negotiations over a move for the 25-year-old England goalkeeper, who is expected to cost them roughly an initial £20m rising to a potential £30m through add-ons.

Butland had been expected to be sold to a Premier League side this summer after returning from the World Cup but he started Stoke’s 3-1 defeat at Leeds United in the Championship on Sunday.

However, with Chelsea now moving fast to sign a new goalkeeper before the transfer window shuts on Thursday afternoon, Butland is expected to be a Chelsea player in time to face Huddersfield Town in their Premier League opener on Saturday.

Chelsea’s hand has been forced by Courtois pushing through his move to Real Madrid this week. Courtois was due back at Cobham on Monday for his first training session after a three-week break but, as first reported by The Telegraph, he did not show up.

Manager Maurizio Sarri had said on Sunday evening that he wanted to speak to Courtois face-to-face, which he has not been able to do yet, but admitted that he only wanted committed players to play for him this season.

Courtois has been desperate for a move to Real Madrid for some time and only has one year left on his Chelsea contract, incentivising the club to sell him rather than see him go on a free next summer.

The outline of a £35m deal with Real Madrid has been in place for weeks but Chelsea would not accept it without having a replacement for Courtois. Earlier this summer they failed to sign Allison, but if they can now sign Butland by Thursday afternoon, then Courtois will get his dream move after all.

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