With attention turning to next season, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has made it very clear that he expects to challenge for the La Liga title in 2019-20.
The Frenchman has been widely reported to be keen on bringing in a number of new faces to inject some life into his ageing side in the coming months.
However, despite club president Florentino Perez confirming he would be backing Zidane in the transfer market, he will have to make some space in his squad with some high profile departures – with goal keeper Thibaut Courtois the latest name to be linked with an exit.
Courtois was brought in at the start of the season by previous boss Julen Lopetegui, and the Belgian international retained his place a first choice under Santiago Solari, into 2019.
However the return of Zidane has seen him lose his place to Costa Rican international Keylor Navas, for the last five games in league action.
The former Chelsea man has struggled with an injury for the last month, however Zidane has been clear in his decision to start Navas – who was trusted by him during his first spell in charge.
This raises real questions about Courtois future in the Spanish capital, just months after his big money move from the Premier League.
Reports in Spain are confident that Zidane will look to cash in on Courtois – in the belief that Navas is the better option – and use the money to strengthen elsewhere in the squad.
He has Diego Altube and son Luca in reserve, and both have seen some first team action during this campaign, and Courtois would not sit on the bench and the club cannot justify keeping him if he is not Zidane’s No.1.
The primary issue with offloading Courtois would be the unwillingness of Europe’s other major sides to make a move for a goal keeper, given the amount of movement from keepers last season.
The only viable option looks to be Paris Saint Germain, with Bayern Munich seemingly happy to continue with Manuel Neuer for another season or two.
Current first choice keeper Gianluigi Buffon only signed a one year deal in 2018, and the French side are not certain if they will offer an extension, and they do have the resources to move for Courtois.
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