It has been pretty apparent for some time now that Chelsea goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois wants to move to Real Madrid this summer with his contract at Stamford Bridge due to expire at the end of the coming season.
From Jack Butland to Jordan Pickford, Chelsea, at this moment in time, have refused to negotiate Courtois’ exit unless they find a suitable replacement.
With Stoke City’s number one, Butland rumoured to be replacing Courtois at the Bridge in recent days, now Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak’s name is being touted around.
But, who should Chelsea target should their key man between the sticks make his expected departure to Madrid?
During the 2017/18 season, Courtois, Oblak, and Butland played significant roles for their respective sides, with the latter suffering relegation to the Championship from the Premier League.
As you can see from the image above, in La Liga, Oblak conceded only 18 goals from his 34 matches as Diego Simone’s robust and organised side finished the season behind runaway champions Barcelona.
By contrast, both Courtois and Butland shipped in a lot more goals, with the latter only keeping six clean sheets under Mark Hughes and Paul Lambert. Courtois did fare a little better, securing 15 clean sheets during the same number of games as Butland, but this is nowhere near the standard set by the highly-rated Oblak.
Under new boss, Maurizio Sarri, in what is expected to be a 4-3-3 formation, the goalkeeper will be bringing the ball out from the back. His presence and distribution between the sticks will be vital as Sarri looks to implement a more possession-based style at the Bridge.
Last season, Courtois’ distribution success rate was an impressive 75%, whilst Butland and Oblak had a success rate of 50% and 55%, respectively.
Furthermore, the next stats show that the six foot four Butland is a more commanding presence in the penalty area, with the England international claiming 83 catches from his 35 games. This is just ten more than the Slovenian Oblak, who has played a game less.
However, a lot of this would depend on how much crosses you allow in your box, with Oblak’s side seeing more of the ball in La Liga whilst Butland’s Stoke would have been on the back foot a lot of the time during their poor season in the Premier League.
There is no doubt that Oblak has more pedigree than Butland, but the La Liga player would command a higher transfer fee than the Championship-based Butland. At 25-years-old, if Chelsea were to sign Oblak, they would be bringing in a player who is arguably better than Chelsea’s number one and someone with a better re-sale value. Furthermore, you would expect Atletico to demand a fee higher than the £65 million Liverpool paid for Roma’s Alisson in this inflated transfer market. On the other hand, if the Blues were to make a move for Butland, they would purchase a player with Premier League experience and someone who would cost significantly less. Despite the costs, with all the quality and experience under his belt, particularly in Europe, moving for Oblak is a no-brainer.