Thibaut Courtois fails to report to Chelsea training as expected - sources
Thibaut Courtois did not report to Cobham for Chelsea training on Monday as he attempts to force through a move to Real Madrid, sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.
The Telegraph reported earlier that the goalkeeper was missing for the scheduled 4 p.m. training session, which should have marked his return to the club after a post-World Cup holiday.
After Chelsea's 2-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday, coach Maurizio Sarri said he hoped to speak to Courtois face-to-face on Monday to be sure of the players' intentions, indicating that he would not keep any player at Stamford Bridge against his will.
But that face-to-face meeting has not occurred.
Sources told ESPN FC's transfer correspondent Peter O'Rourke earlier on Monday that Courtois has previously made clear his desire to leave in a phone call to Sarri and club hierarchy and had been due to reiterate that stance in person on Monday.
Courtois' agent, Christophe Henrotay, said in an interview with The Sun over the weekend that his client wants to leave Stamford Bridge for the Spanish capital this summer to be closer to his two children, who live there with his former partner.
And with time ticking down until the Premier League transfer deadline on Thursday, Courtois has increased the pressure on Chelsea to sell him to Madrid by declining to return to Cobham to begin preparations for the new season.
Courtois was granted three weeks' holiday along with Belgium teammates Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi, France midfielder N'Golo Kante and England defender Gary Cahill because their teams progressed to the final four of the World Cup, and all of the others reported at Cobham on Monday as agreed.
Securing a replacement for Courtois will be Chelsea's top priority in the coming days, sources told O'Rourke, with the Blues set to open the Premier League season at Huddersfield on Saturday.
Liverpool beat the Blues to the signing of top target Alisson from Roma by making him the most expensive goalkeeper in history with a £56 million deal last month, and there appear to be few other high-quality options on the market.
Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo reported on Monday that Chelsea were preparing to pay a €100 million release clause to sign Jan Oblak from Atletico Madrid.
Reports in England have also linked Chelsea with a move for Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland.