Belgian goalkeeper Courtois set for Chelsea

Genk (Belgium): Belgian champions Genk announced on Saturday that their 19-year-old goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has agreed to join Premier League giants Chelsea on a five-year contract.

"We received an enormous offer that gave us no choice but to let our goalkeeper leave," said Genk director Dirk Degraen at a press conference.

"But I have mixed feelings about this transfer: Genk wanted Thibaut to stay a bit longer."

According to Belgian media, Chelsea have paid nine million euros (USD 12.7m) to acquire the goalkeeper, who has been compared to recently retired Dutchman Edwin van der Sar.

Courtois, who is a full Belgium international, will become new Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas` first signing.

"There is an agreement between the two clubs," Villas-Boas said after his side`s 1-0 friendly win at Portsmouth on Saturday.

"It is also subject to personal agreements and from then we will decide what is best for him."

Asked whether Courtois could challenge for a first-team spot this season, Villas-Boas added: "Let`s wait for him to agree terms. It seems unfair for me to make any comment on him but as soon as he is a Chelsea player we will see what kind of future he has."

However, the Belgian believes it will take a while to displace first choice goalkeeper Petr Cech.

"Chelsea see me as the successor to Petr Cech," he said recently.

"It won`t happen in one or two years, but in three, four or five years. I can therefore work on my development in peace."

Bureau Report

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