Chelsea fans were seemingly given a huge boost earlier today when Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois told reporters he was “close” to signing a new deal to keep him at the Bridge.

However, some critics have cast doubt over the genuineness and ultimate intentions of the star shot-stopper. Sky Sports pundit and freelance journalist Guillem Balague claimed on social media that the Belgian had engineered the situation to put pressure on Real Madrid, who have been frequently linked with the 25-year-old, to make a move for him.

Chelsea are said to be desperate to retain their number one as he enters the final year of his Blues contract, recently offering him a new deal that would make him the best-paid goalkeeper in the world, well ahead of Manchester United’s David de Gea.

The more optimistic Blues fans will take comfort from Courtois’ words taken at face value, after he said “a deal was close” in response to speculation over his future. Not only that, but the Belgian claimed he was attempting to keep his compatriot Hazard at Stamford Bridge after both have been linked with lucrative moves to Real Madrid in recent weeks.

“Do Eden and I encourage each other to sign? Yes. He will say ‘if you sign, I will sign’ and I say the same to him!

“I think we are both happy at Chelsea, we both have a good part to play. We have been champions twice in the four seasons I have been here and can have our peak years together at Chelsea.”

Header image by Ben Sutherland [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons