Chelsea warned Real Madrid off making a bid for Thibaut Courtois by demanding £73 million for the goalkeeper.
The fee would have equalled the world record €100 million Real paid Tottenham Hotspur for Gareth Bale in 2013, but Chelsea’s valuation succeeded in scaring off the Spanish club.
Real are now preparing to formalise attempts to sign David de Gea next week with Florentino Pérez, the club president, ready to move for the Manchester United goalkeeper following his international commitments with Spain, but it has emerged that Courtois was their first choice.
Telegraph Sport understands that Real were prepared to pay almost £37 million for Courtois, which would have made him the most expensive ever goalkeeper. When they inquired about the Belgian, however, Chelsea told Real they would have to double that fee to stand any chance of signing the player.
Jose Mourinho, Chelsea’s manager, has previously claimed that Real would have to pay £100 million for each leg of Eden Hazard and his valuation of Courtois was similarly designed to make it clear that the 23‑year-old was not for sale.
Mourinho has insisted that retaining his best players is more important to him than making marquee signings this summer. Other than seeing off Real’s interest in Courtois, Chelsea say the right-back Branislav Ivanovic is on the verge of signing an extension to his contract that expires next year.
Having been knocked back by Chelsea, Real could use the striker Karim Benzema, a player whom United are interested in signing, as leverage to unlock a deal for De Gea. Despite repeatedly resisting United’s attempts to secure him to a new £200,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford in recent months, De Gea has still to give the club a clear indication as to his intentions this summer.