It’s not a bad problem to have, but Chelsea are heading for a sticky situation with their senior goalkeepers as the summer wears on, with Czech Republic and Belgium number ones Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois surely staring across at each other with increased suspicion in the Blues canteen.
Many believed one of the two would have been sold at this stage, with Cech thought the likeliest to make way for a player a few weeks short of a decade younger.
However, boss Jose Mourinho is showing no outward signs that he’ll get rid of either, and with the older keeper still only 32 – which is far from veteran-status between the sticks – the much-lauded ‘Special One’ will need to call on his famed coaching nous to settle this quandary.
Thankfully, there’s a recent Premier League playbook available on the subject, provided by the top-flight’s greatest managerial mind to date.
In the summer of 2011, Manchester United paid an £18m British record fee for a goalkeeper to Atletico Madrid for David de Gea, despite already having Denmark’s Anders Lindegaard on the books.
De Gea kept a reasonably-tight hold on the jersey during his tricky first term, turning out 29 times to Lindegaard’s eight Premier League appearances.
Rivals Manchester City won their first Premier League title at the end of the campaign, and Ferguson changed tack regarding his stoppers for what turned out to be his last season at the Old Trafford helm.
Instead of chucking in Lindegaard for the odd game, seemingly to give his de facto number one a breather, the Dane actively competed for a first-team spot over the first 15 Premier League fixtures of 2012/13 and made the teamsheet eight times by the start of December, to De Gea’s seven starts.
The Spain World Cup squad member won his place back for the 3-2 win at the Etihad shortly afterwards, United went on to win their 13th title, and De Gea has missed three top-flight matches since.
Ferguson clearly had his doubts over which of the pair to leave as part of his Old Trafford first-team legacy, but it has since become clear who’s number one at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
With Mourinho seemingly at a loss as to which of his keepers to choose, pitting Courtois and Cech against each other from the off in August may be the best way to separate them.