The Belgium international was expected to watch the club’s 2 – 0 defeat to Manchester City at Wembley yesterday but failed to turn up. According to the report, neither the club or his team-mates know anything more about the situation.
It’s a move designed to bring Chelsea to the negotiating table. Real Madrid recently bid £35m for the 26-year-old but the Blues rejected it out of hand.
That led to Courtois’ agent giving media interviews in which he was strongly critical of the club. He also emphasised that the Belgian wanted to move not just for money; he has two children in the city from a previous relationship and wants to be closer to them.
Maurizio Sarri hoped he could persuade Courtois to stay. He planned talks with the goalkeeper when he returned to the club but with that now seemingly unlikely to happen, Sarri is left hoping for a replacement to be signed before Thursday’s deadline passes.
Chelsea’s reserve goalkeepers are woeful by comparison to Courtois but there is a dearth of available alternatives. Stoke’s Jack Butland is likely to be the cheapest although there is talk of an offer for Jan Oblak. Atletico Madrid, however, already made it clear it will require his €100m release clause to be activated before they will talk to clubs.
The situation leaves Chelsea’s preparations for the new season in disarray. Courtois’ actions mean a return to the first team this month is unlikely. With a match against Arsenal in 10 days time, they can ill-afford a hold-out player in a key position.