Antonio Conte says Chelsea risk losing the best goalkeeper in the world if they do not extend Thibaut Courtois’ contract.
The 25-year-old’s present five-year deal expires in June 2019 and this week Courtois said he would wait until the end of the season to discuss a renewal.
The Belgium goalkeeper, who has been repeatedly linked with Real Madrid, spent three years on loan from Chelsea at Atletico Madrid before succeeding Petr Cech as the Blues’ number one.
Conte deferred to Chelsea’s hierarchy on the topic of Courtois’ contract, but had a warning for the Blues.
“I can say Courtois is one of the best, maybe the best goalkeeper in the world and he is a player very important for Chelsea,” said Conte, whose side play at Liverpool on Saturday.
“But the renewal of contract is a task for the club.
“He knows very well my opinion and my thoughts about him. I consider him one of the best.
“He will be the best in the world… maybe he is now the best, but for sure, in the future for this goalkeeper (he will be the best).”
Conte referenced the fact Arsenal pair Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are entering the final six months of their contracts. It is a situation Chelsea usually avoid and will likely wish to do so with Courtois, who signed from Genk in 2011.
“As you know very well if a big player decides to not sign a new contract it is very difficult for the club to face this issue,” Conte added.
“But at the same time there is space to deal with this type of situation and to try to solve the situation.
“In this season, maybe Sanchez and Ozil are finishing their contracts with Arsenal.
“These types of situations are not simple but every club has to try and solve all these situations.”