Chelsea eye up clean-sheet machine to replace Courtois

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It’s very possible that when Antonio Conte arrives to take over Chelsea in the summer he’ll have to make finding a new goalkeeper his number one priority.

Rumblings that both Thibaut Courtois and Asmir Begovic want out of Stamford Bridge are growing, leaving the club to look for alternative stoppers to provide the incoming Italian coach with.

It seems the club has at least one such option in mind, with Southampton’s Fraser Forster emerging as a potential replacement.

The five-cap England international has enjoyed a strong Premier League career since moving to the south coast from Celtic in 2014, although he has had his current campaign hampered by injury.

Having developed something of a reputation for clean sheets during his time in Glasgow, many doubted whether the lopsided standard in Scotland was the primary reason for Forster’s glowing statistics.

He soon put paid to those theories in his first term with the Saints, keeping a total of 14 Premier League clean sheets as Ronald Koeman’s side owned the second-best defensive record in the division.

His ability between the sticks has seen him battle Jack Butland to be Joe Hart’s Three Lions understudy and in just 14 games this season the former Newcastle youth has managed to tack another six shutouts on to his CV.

With both Courtois and Begovic agitating for a move away from West London, it would seem the path to Chelsea’s number one jersey is clear for Forster should he make the move.

Real Madrid are the frontrunners for the Belgian’s signature this summer, having failed in their attempts to lure David de Gea to the Bernabeu last season, while Begovic wants more cast-iron guarantees of first team football.

The Daily Mail suggest Chelsea will demand £55m for Courtois and would only need to reinvest a fraction of that to land Forster, who joined Southampton for less than £10m two seasons ago.

Both Southampton and Chelsea are battling to finish in the top six this season, although at 80/1 the Blues’ hopes are diminishing compared to the 14/1-rated Saints.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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