Antonio Conte has urged Chelsea to sort out Thibaut Courtois' contract situation as he nears the final 18 months of his current contract.
The Italian coach labelled the Belgian goalkeeper 'the best in the world' and is keen for the club to tie him down to a new long-term deal.
Chelsea and Courtois' representatives have been unable to reach an agreement over a new deal with the player recently revealing that he will wait until the end of the season to discuss an extension with the club. He will then have just one-year remaining on his deal and will have the power to negotiate on his terms.
But Conte has urged the reigning Premier League champions to address the situation at the earliest. He referred to rivals Arsenal's situation as the north London club seem to be on the verge of losing two key players Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, who are in the final seven months of their contracts and have thus far refused to sign a new deal.
"I like to give my opinion about technical decisions. It is important for the club to face this issue, to face this contract with Courtois," Conte said ahead of Chelsea's clash against Liverpool, as quoted by the Guardian. "I think that Thibaut didn't need my opinion. He knows very well what my thoughts about him are."
"For sure I can tell that Courtois is one of the best, maybe the best goalkeeper in the world, and he is a player who is very important for Chelsea. I can tell this. But for sure the renewal is a task for the club.
"If a big player decides to not sign a new contract it is difficult for a club to try to avoid this issue," Conte explained.
"But at the same time I think there is space to try to deal with the issue and try to solve the situation. Maybe [Alexis] Sánchez and [Mesut] Özil they are finishing their contracts with Arsenal and it is not simple but every club has to try solve the situations."
Courtois' contract situation at Chelsea has not gone unnoticed and a number of clubs are looking to take advantage of the uncertainty and prize him away from Stamford Bridge. According to the Sun, Juventus are leading the race, but Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be keen to sign the Belgium international.