Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has said he is desperate to sign on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, telling Cuatro: “Any price would be cheap.”
Belgium international Courtois, 21, has been on loan at the Vicente Calderon since 2011, when Chelsea signed him from Genk, and has been a key part of the club’s rise during that time.
It remains unclear whether he will be required at Stamford Bridge next season, with Petr Cech, 31, having been established as the Blues’ first-choice goalkeeper for close to a decade.
Asked if he would pay 26 million euros for Courtois, who said earlier this month that he wants a swift decision on his future, Simeone replied: “Definitely. For me, any price for Courtois would be cheap. He is a young guy who has a huge future ahead of him and is on course to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
“To secure a goalkeeper of his quality would be a big coup. It will not be easy. It depends what Courtois wants. I always talk about football with the club, and the club know what we want, but it isn’t up to us as he isn’t our player.”
Simeone, who guided Atletico to success in the Copa del Rey last season, has overseen a title challenge in the current campaign and said it had been “extraordinary so far.”
However, he dismissed the idea that Los Colchoneros can beat Barcelona and Real Madrid to the title.
“I’m just being realistic,” he said. “I think sometimes everyone is attracted to the idea that Atletico will continue to compete and that, the day we fall away and find ourselves in third, it would be considered a failure despite being an important step forwards for the club.
“Dreaming is for the fans. We have to live in reality, which is to say working training and working hard, preparing for games and not creating false expectations.”