Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is reportedly attempting to push through a transfer to Real Madrid by going AWOL.
Courtois was due to return to Chelsea’s Cobham base on Monday following a post-World Cup break having helped Belgium secure third-place in Russia.
However, The Telegraph report he failed to turn up for a 4pm training session just 24 hours after Maurizio Sarri delivered an ultimatum to him.
Chelsea ‘s new manager Sarri said after the Community Shield defeat to Manchester City that Courtois needed to make his wishes clear to him in person.
But the stopper has apparently offered a signal of his intent by going AWOL instead, amid ongoing interest from La Liga giants Real Madrid.
The Telegraph claim Courtois has remained in Belgium, where he was honoured by former club Genk over the weekend.
The 26-year-old had been due back in England on Sunday to watch Chelsea take on City at Wembley alongside Gary Cahill.
But he was said to have failed to show without offering an explanation to the west London club.
Courtois was meant to join Cahill, Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante, Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi at Cobham on Monday afternoon.
He opted to stay away though as Real Madrid look to wrap up a £35m deal to make him their new No 1 in place of Keylor Navas.
Courtois is known to be keen on a return to Spain, where he spent three years on loan at Atletico Madrid and his young children are based.
His agent, Christophe Henrotay, confirmed that desire last week with an impassioned statement Sarri was unwilling to entertain.
“I have no reaction on the agent,” said Sarri on Sunday. “I am not interested in the agent. I want to hear from Courtois.
“If Courtois says the same tomorrow [Monday] I have to speak with my club of course, because I want only players with a very high level of motivation. But I have nothing to add to the agent.”
Chelsea now look likely to be forced into selling Courtois, who has 12 months left to run on his current contract and has rejected fresh terms.
Real, Courtois’ most likely destination, have until the end of August to strike an agreement with Chelsea for Courtois.
But the Blues’ need to replace him before the Premier League transfer window slams shut at 5pm on Thursday means they must act fast.