Antonio Conte has told Thibaut Courtois he will attempt to find a solution to the Belgium international's fractured working relationship with Chelsea's goalkeeping coach. According to sources close to Courtois, Chelsea's highly regarded keeper informed the club's incoming manager that he no longer wished to be trained by Christophe Lollichon when the pair met last month.
Conte is aware of the delicate nature of Courtois' situation at the club, with the 23-year-old keen to return to Spanish football this summer for sporting and personal reasons. Real Madrid are interested in signing Courtois should they again fail to extract David de Gea from Manchester United this summer.
Though Conte has sought to persuade Courtois to remain at Stamford Bridge, making it clear to the goalkeeper that he is wanted in a restructured defense, the Italian also said he would not stand in the way of sale were an acceptable offer to be received. To date, Chelsea have not communicated their asking price to Courtois or his representative, nor has a formal offer been received from a Spanish club.
As ONE World Sports reported last month, Courtois lost confidence in Lollichon's methods during a campaign in which he missed three months of football as a result of a training ground injury. The Belgian required reconstructive knee surgery in September after tearing his right meniscus when jumping for a ball in one of Lollichon's unconventional coaching sessions.
With then-manager Jose Mourinho's backing, Courtois was excused from adhering to elements of Lollichon's training program while he recovered from surgery and returned to first-team duty. Under interim manager Guus Hiddink, however, Courtois returned to working under the Frenchman.
The Premier League club's senior goalkeeping coach since 2007, Lollichon has now survived the enforced exits of eight Chelsea's managers and has been described as “untouchable” by club sources. Mourinho was uncomfortable with Lollichon, whom he suspected of reporting dressing-room information to Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich. His distrust reached the extent that Lollichon was excluded from some meetings of Mourinho's first-team coaching staff.
Conte has negotiated to bring the core of his extensive Italy national team staff with him to Chelsea. The Italian originally agreed to include Lollichon in his Stamford Bridge support team.