Thibaut Courtois has told Chelsea he will not sign a new deal with the club and will walk away next summer on a free transfer unless they sell him in the next nine days.
Chelsea are desperately trying to persuade Courtois to reject the advances of Real Madrid and commit his long term future to the club by agreeing a lucrative new contract.
But the 26-year-old has informed the Blues he has no intention penning a new deal and unless they let him leave this month he will see out the remaining 12 months of his contract and walk away for nothing.
That leaves Chelsea facing nine days to decide whether they are willing to write off £35million by insisting he stays at Stamford Bridge this season.
And SunSport understands part of the problem is the club do not want to spend more than £20million on a new keeper – leaving them scraping around the market for a cut price potential replacement for one of the most highly-rated stoppers in the game.
New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says he wants the chance to speak face to face with Courtois in order to convince him Wet London is the best place for him to be for the next five years.
But the keeper is not due back for pre-season training until next week, just two days before the transfer window in the Premier League slams shut until January.
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And it is understood Courtois has already made it clear that nothing will change his mind and convince him to sign a new Chelsea deal, because he is set on moving to Madrid to be closer to his young family.
Chelsea’s struggles in the league last season and failure to qualify for the Champions League has been one of the things that has concerned the player.
But deep down the main issue is he just wants to move back to Spain and live close to his two children who are being brought up in Madrid.
Courtois wants to be close to them as soon as possible, ideally this summer, and the worst case scenario would be for him to wait a further year.
But that is the final cut off point in his mind, and there appears nothing the Blues can do to change that position because the keeper just wants to live close to his kids.
Yet unless they bring in a new keeper by deadline day on August 9, Chelsea will have little option than to keep Courtois and see him run down his contract.
That would see them write off the £35m Real are willing to pay to sign him, and also mean they would then have to fork out another sizeable sum next summer on a new number one.
Yet so far Chelsea have let it be known then only want to pay £15m-20m on a keeper this year, seriously reducing the amount of viable options for such a key position.
Kasper Schmeichel has been a target but Leicester value him in excess of £45m, while Stoke’s Jack Butland would also be a long way out of reach at that money.
So all of a sudden England reject Joe Hart has become one option, with Manchester City looking to offload him as he enters the last year of his own deal at the Etihad Stadium.