Goalkeepers, man. They’re tricky. And this summer, obscenely expensive. With Roma’s Alisson Becker and Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak both valued anywhere between €70m and €100m depending on which outlet you put your faith in, we’ve truly entered the era where goalkeepers are priced similarly to any other position on the pitch.
The impact of a quality goalkeeper is also the topic of much debate. Notoriously difficult to pin down with statistics, shot stopping often swings wildly from season to season, and to further complicate matters, it is only one of the many facets that make a top-level goalkeeper. Thus, placing an accurate value on a goalkeeper becomes an ambiguous process, subject to much speculation.
Should Liverpool sign a new goalkeeper? Many fans seem to think so, and given all the smoke surrounding the Alisson rumours, one can presume the idea is also bandied about in the offices of the club’s transfer committee. The Brazilian’s price tag seems to have disincentivised Michael Edwards’ team from further pursuit, however, and will now attempt to identify players who are both better than current first-choice Loris Karius and not offensively costly.
One such player that few would have considered an option a month ago is Thibault Courtois. The Chelsea and Belgium stopper is coming up on the last year of his £120k per week deal with the Blues, and having failed to agree a new contract back in November, called for the London club to make major squad investments when they failed to qualify for next year’s Champions League in May. 15 years deep into the project, Roman Abramovich’s interest and willingness to invest in his plaything seems to be declining, as evidenced by the club’s lack of transfer expenditure over the past three years, and Courtois’ demands may fall on deaf ears.
Furthermore, Merseyside-based Sky Sports correspondent Vinny O’Connor now claims that not only are Liverpool interested in the 6’6” Belgian, but Chelsea are willing to deal, capitalising on their asset before losing him on a free at the end of his contract. A £35m price tag has been suggested in less reputable outlets.
It may have seemed a long shot only a few weeks ago, but Courtois to Liverpool may just become a real thing, real soon.