Antonio Conte says Chelsea risk losing the best goalkeeper in the world if they do not extend Thibaut Courtois’ contract.
The Blues manager says handling the situation is a task for the club’s hierarchy.
Courtois’ present five-year deal expires in June 2019 and this week the 25-year-old said he would wait until the end of the season to discuss a renewal.
The Belgium goalkeeper, who has been repeatedly linked with Real Madrid, spent three years on loan from Chelsea at Atletico Madrid before succeeding Petr Cech as the Blues’ No 1.
Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte says he considers Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp one of the world's best
He has been consistently impressive since then and, ahead of Saturday’s clash with Liverpool, Conte made it clear how highly he rates his No 1.
“I can say Courtois is one of the best, maybe the best goalkeeper in the world,” said the Italian. “And he is a player very important for Chelsea. But the renewal of contract is a task for the club. He knows very well my opinion and my thoughts about him. He will be the best in the world.
“Maybe he is now the best but, for sure, in the future for this goalkeeper [he will be the best].”
As Conte observed, Arsenal risk losing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who are entering the final six months of their contracts, and it is a situation Chelsea will surely try to avoid with regard to Courtois.
“As you know very well, if a big player decides to not sign a new contract it is very difficult for the club to face this issue,” said Conte.
“But at the same time, there is space to deal with this type of situation and to try to solve the situation.
“In this season, maybe Sanchez and Ozil are finishing their contracts with Arsenal.
“These types of situations are not simple but every club has to try and solve all these situations.”