Don't miss




Cameroon's Constitutional Court rejects last petition for re-run

Read more


Music stars, French art and a dead cat's renaissance

Read more


Khashoggi Affair: Evidence mounts against Saudi Crown Prince

Read more

#TECH 24

Next stop space: Japanese company constructing nanotube 'space lift'

Read more

#THE 51%

The Gender Divide: Record number of women running in U.S. midterms

Read more


Reporters: Brexit, a sea of uncertainty for fishermen

Read more


Fishing in France's Grau du Roi harbour, a family tradition

Read more


French education reforms under tight scrutiny

Read more


FIAC 2018: Paris's one-stop shop for Contemporary Art collectors

Read more

Courtois urges Chelsea to spend big amid Conte uncertainty

© AFP | Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is refusing to commit his future to Chelsea


Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois believes the FA Cup winners need to spend heavily if they are to challenge for the Premier League title next season.

Eden Hazard's 22nd-minute penalty saw Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

But that could not disguise the fact that the Londoners, champions in the previous season, finished a massive 30 points behind title-winners Manchester City.

There has long been speculation linking Courtois with a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, while Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could be on his way out of Stamford Bridge despite the FA Cup triumph.

The Blues were known for spending lavishly under Russian owner Roman Abramovich but the billionaire now finds himself effectively going up against a state in City's Sheikh Mansour, a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi and a deputy president of the United Arab Emirates.

Courtois, 26, was vague over Italian manager Conte's future, saying "whatever he or the club decides, they will know what they do", and the Belgium international refused to give any guarantees about whether he would be staying in west London.

"Like I said in the last weeks or months, I think we'll see after the World Cup whether I am a Chelsea player for next year," Courtois said. "We'll see what is going to happen after the World Cup."

- 'Within the limits' -

Courtois, whose contract is about to expire, was asked if Chelsea needed to bolster their squad if they were to make a title challenge next season.

"Yeah, I think so," he replied. "I think especially if you see how City and (Manchester) United are spending and working.

"I think if we want to aim for the top, we should do the same -- obviously within the limits of what's possible as well."

Courtois added: "I think that the transfer market has gone pretty crazy. Nowadays you pay £80 million ($108 million, 92 million euros) for a defender I think -- that's crazy figures.

"We'll see what's going on and I am sure the board will do what needs to be done."

Courtois was happy to have helped Chelsea win the FA Cup, but not with a season where they finished fifth in the league.

"Well, satisfaction because we won a trophy," he said. "I am very happy about that but obviously missing out on the Champions League is not what we hoped for, but we have to keep working next year and have a good season again and add some more trophies.

"After a season with ups and downs, I think this feels really good. It is a good way to finish this year."

Meanwhile, Willian appeared to be one Chelsea player who hoped Conte would be leaving the club.

A photograph was posted on the Brazilian midfielder's Instagram page in which Conte had been obscured by three trophy emojis in a picture of the whole team celebrating their FA Cup win.

Willian only featured as a late substitute in the Cup final and started only 20 Premier League matches last season, making a further 16 appearances off the bench.

He did not start after reacting angrily to being substituted by Conte in the FA Cup semi-final win against Southampton on April 22.

© 2018 AFP