Belfast Telegraph

Real Madrid net Courtois as Kovacic's Chelsea loan confirmed


By Simon Peach

Thibaut Courtois is getting his dream move to Real Madrid in a deal that has seen Mateo Kovacic head to Chelsea on a season-long loan.

After months of speculation surrounding the Belgium goalkeeper, the 26-year-old has got his wish to swap Stamford Bridge for the Bernabeu.

Courtois only had a year left on his deal and has been absent from training this week as he looked to push through a move before the transfer window ended for Chelsea today.

Chelsea signed Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for £71.6million, allowing Courtois to move for a reported £35m as Croatia midfielder Kovacic heads the other way.

A statement from Chelsea read: "Chelsea and Real Madrid have tonight agreed terms for the permanent transfer of Thibaut Courtois, subject to the agreement of personal terms and passing a medical.

"Subject to the completion of the deal, Mateo Kovacic will join the Blues on a season-long loan."

Real have confirmed that Courtois will undergo a medical this morning, before signing a six-year deal and being presented at 1pm local time.

Kovacic has joined Chelsea on loan until June 30, 2019 as part of the deal, with the Croatia international spending a season away from the club he joined from Inter Milan in 2015.

Despite that impressive signing, Maurizio Sarri's main acquisition before the deadline is keeper Kepa.

Bilbao confirmed yesterday that the 23-year-old's release clause of £71m and Chelsea later confirmed the deal.

The fee is a world record for a goalkeeper, surpassing the £67m paid by Liverpool to Roma for Brazil's Alisson last month.

And David Luiz believes Kepa will live up to his world-record fee.

He insists the Spaniard is exactly the kind of goalkeeper Chelsea need to challenge for silverware in the future.

"He is a great keeper, that is why everybody is talking about him," Luiz said. "The financial side - every club in the world spends money, not just Chelsea. The numbers don't matter, we are happy because Chelsea are doing the best for the club.

"When you play for Chelsea you have to think about titles, it doesn't matter the name of the competition. We have to always try to win."

Despite losing Courtois to Madrid, Chelsea are set to hold on to prized asset Eden Hazard, who has also been linked with a move to the Bernabeu.

Luiz added that he was thrilled to see the club holding on to many of their star names despite missing out on Champions League football last season.

"It's good news," he said. "I always say Chelsea have to keep their best players and if we keep them all it will be amazing."

Meanwhile, Leicester are considering taking Danny Drinkwater back from Chelsea.

Drinkwater moved for £35m on deadline day last summer, but the midfielder went on to make only a handful of appearances. He played a prominent role in the club's historic title-winning season two years ago.

Belfast Telegraph


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