Chelsea are considering a move for Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland amid concerns over the long-term future of mooted Real Madrid target Thibaut Courtois, who is not close to penning a new contract with the Premier League champions.
Belgium international Courtois has been the Blues' undisputed number one goalkeeper since returning from a three-year loan spell at Atletico Madrid in 2014 and is garnering interest from Real and Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain, according to the Daily Mail.
The former Genk starlet is in no rush to sign a new deal with Chelsea with his current contract set to expire at the end of next season. Antonio Conte, who recently pleaded with the Chelsea hierarchy to back him in the January transfer window in order to help his side pursue league leaders Manchester City, and the rest of the Blues chiefs are exploring other options should Courtois decide to leave for the likes of Real or PSG.
The Ligue 1 leaders are themselves in need of a new stopper with Alphonse Areola and Kevin Trapp failing to convince in the French capital.
Butland has been troubled with injuries over the last 18 months and is currently out of action with a broken finger sustained on international duty, but the England star is seen as one of the best young 'keepers in Europe and has courted interest from Manchester United and Everton in the past.
Stoke would struggle to hold onto Butland should Chelsea intensify their interest but they would no doubt command a large fee for their prized asset, whose current contract expires in the summer of 2021.
The Potters signed Butland from Birmingham City for just £3.5m and would likely demand a fee larger than the £30m Everton paid Sunderland for Jordan Pickford in the summer transfer window. Butland actually rejected Chelsea's advances while he was plying his trade at Birmingham due to concerns over a potential lack of game-time, but that would not be a worry if he was brought in as Courtois' direct replacement in west London.
Courtois has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid, who are searching for a new 'keeper amid doubts over Keylor Navas, and the towering Belgian fuelled the flames of a potential transfer after revealing last week that he is no closer to penning fresh terms at Stamford Bridge.
"The thing for me, the most important thing, is to perform well for myself and the team," Courtois said. "Regarding my contract, that's the thing where Chelsea must deal with my agent. I don't think there have been any new developments.
"We have so many games at the moment, and I prefer to focus on the team's games, my own performances. There will be time enough towards the end of the season to have talks."