Belgium international Thibaut Courtois is set to become the highest-paid shot-stopper in the world as he nears a contract extension with Premier League side Chelsea. The 25-year-old has established himself as the first-choice keeper over the past three seasons, and the Blues are prepared to reward him with a bumper contract to fend off potential interest from Real Madrid.

According to The Sun, the west London giants are willing to break the £200,000-a-week barrier for the very first time as they look to commit Courtois to an extended contract beyond the summer of 2019. The ex-Genk graduate has often been associated with a return to Madrid owing to his family situated in the city, but it appears that the Belgian is content to prolong his stay with the Blues, having lifted the league title in two of the last three seasons.

The Blues have not been at their best collectively as compared to the previous campaign, but this has not hampered the performance of Courtois, who has accumulated 12 clean sheets in 23 outings, only one behind the superlative talent of David de Gea at Manchester United (transfermarkt).

Blues boss Antonio Conte had previously cited his intention (ESPN) to commit both Courtois and Eden Hazard to long-term deals before the World Cup finals in the summer, and if reports are true, the Italian has partly achieved his aim as the Blues head into a busy phase across all competitions.

The west London side are the only top-flight club other than Manchester City, who are still vying on all four fronts, but their prospects of keeping touch in the Cup competitions is likely to be tested as they have a slightly slimmer squad compared to City, who have most bases covered with capable replacements, in case of injury setbacks.

Chelsea make the trip to the south Coast to take on Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon after which they have a tricky League Cup semi-final second leg versus Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The first leg ended in a disappointing 0-0 stalemate for the Premier League holders.

Image – Getty

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