Thibaut Courtois failed to show up at Cobham for Chelsea training on Monday as he attempts to force through a move to Real Madrid, sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.
According to The Telegraph, Courtois was missing for the scheduled 4 p.m. training session, which should have marked his return to the club after a post-World Cup holiday.
After Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday, coach Maurizio Sarri said he hoped to speak to the goalkeeper face-to-face on Monday to be sure of the players’ intentions, saying that he would not keep any player at Stamford Bridge against his will.
Sources informed ESPN FC’s transfer correspondent Peter O’Rourke earlier on Monday that Courtois has beforehand made clear his desire to leave in a telephone conversation with Sarri and club hierarchy, and had been due to restate that standpoint in person on Monday.
With time ticking down until the Premier League transfer deadline on Thursday, Courtois has increased the pressure on the Blues to sell him to Madrid by declining to return to Cobham to start preparations for the new season.
Courtois was granted three weeks’ holiday along with Belgium teammates Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi, France midfielder N’Golo Kante as well as England defender Gary Cahill because their teams progressed to the final four of the 2018 World Cup, and all of the others reported at Cobham on Monday as planned.
Securing a replacement for Courtois will be Chelsea’s top priority in the coming days, sources told O’Rourke, with the Blues set to open the Premier League season at Huddersfield on Saturday.