By Samuel Opio
Chelsea have made Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford their primary target should Thibaut Courtois leave for Real Madrid this summer.
Everton are likely to resist any approach for the man they signed for £30m from Sunderland last summer, with the 24-year-old one of England’s standout players as they progressed to the World Cup semi-finals.
He was also Everton’s Player of the Year last season, in both the awards voted for by fans and his team-mates.
Liverpool stole a march on Chelsea by signing Roma goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who was the first choice to work under new manager Maurizio Sarri, but now Pickford is the favoured option.
Chelsea have yet to make a formal approach to Everton, while there has been no comment from either club so far.
It is thought Courtois will be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge this summer. The Belgium goalkeeper has one year left on his current Chelsea deal, and has said he is prepared to run down that contract so he can leave on a free next summer.
Sarri has told reporters he wants to talk directly to Courtois to gauge how the 26-year-old is feeling before making any decision about his future. The goalkeeper is due to return from holiday and join Chelsea training next week.