Antonio Conte has urged Chelsea's hierarchy to secure Thibaut Courtois' future at Stamford Bridge as soon as possible. The Blues' No. 1 has a contract that runs until the end of 2019 and spoke in the close-season of his wish to extend his deal.
However, Courtois recently suggested that there is no agreement close and talks on fresh terms will be parked until the end of the season. With Real Madrid heavily linked with a move for the Belgium goalkeeper, there remains an element of uncertainty over Courtois' long-term future in the Premier League.
Boss Conte earlier this week asked for clarity on his situation and called on the board to ensure it does not lose a prized asset. "Thibaut is one of the best players, one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Maybe he's the best," he said ahead of Chelsea's fixture against Swansea City on Wednesday.
"For sure, he can become the best goalkeeper in the world. He has great potential. Despite his age, he's very young, he shows great maturity in every game and is a really fantastic player in his role.
"For this reason, I hope, I hope he finds an agreement with the club. But this is the club's responsibility. I repeat, this is the club's responsibility. But I hope, for the future, Thibaut and the club find an agreement. He's a really important player for us."
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Conte was also asked about Chelsea's chances of defending its title, with Manchester City the clear favourite having dropped just two points in 13 matches.
'Lot of problems'
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino said his side is out of the title race having slipped 13 points behind City, with Chelsea 11 back from Pep Guardiola's men. But Conte is keen for his side to just keep showing improvement, having started the season in indifferent form.
"First of all, I think that we are trying to do our best. From the start of the season, we started this season with, I repeat, a lot of problems," he added.
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"We have the points we deserve. For sure, there is Manchester City who are doing something extraordinary. To win every game, and draw only one game, that means you are having a great path. But the most important thing for us is to look at ourselves and try and improve. From the start of the season we are improving a lot. We are becoming more solid. We are finding different solutions on the tactical aspect. We have to continue in this way, to continue to work, and then to try and do our best."