Premier League

Courtois set for Atletico return

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Sat, 08 Jun 2013 17:50:00

Birmingham boss Lee Clark hopes to bring Newcastle winger Shane Ferguson back to St Andrews.

The Northern Ireland international spent the last two months of the season with Blues and Clark knows exactly what he would bring to their side in 2013/14.

Clark told the Chronicle: "Fergie came in for us last season and was brilliant.

"He was great at left wing and left-back, he made goals and scored goals.

"He's a big part of what I am trying to do. I'm trying to turn the club around.

"With the financial situation, the young players I've got are important. I gave six Academy players their debuts this season."

The Ivory Coast international spent six years at Chelsea before leaving for France as a free agent in the summer of 2012.

Kalou enjoyed a productive debut campaign in France, but concedes that Ligue 1 cannot match the Premier League for passion and entertainment.

He insists that he is enjoying his time at Lille, but has refused to rule out returning to England at some stage in the near future if an enticing offer is put to him.

Kalou said in the Evening Standard: "Playing in the Premier League was amazing and I want to have that feeling again.

"It is still the best league in the world. The supporters there are so passionate and know everything about the game. You see fans making fun of their opponents and singing songs and in other places you don't have that. It gives England an extra edge."

Kalou has also had his say on the return of Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge, with the Portuguese tactician having taken him to Chelsea in 2006.

He added: "Jose is still the right man for that club. He brings stability wherever he goes and Chelsea need that more than anything.

"You have the players and experience to win trophies but you need someone who can direct everything and, when he is there, everyone will listen.

"He is a leader. He brought the stability they needed when they won their first trophies with him in 2004.

"He is a winner and will bring that back to the club again. The club have won every trophy but you need that stability to bring through a new generation of winning trophies."

The 21-year-old Belgium international joined Chelsea from Genk in 2011 but was immediately allowed to join Atletico on loan and he has enjoyed two hugely successful years at the Spanish outfit.

In 2012 Courtois helped the Rojiblancos win the Europa League and UEFA Super Cup, while last season he won the Zamora Trophy as the goalkeeper with the lowest goals-to-game ratio in the Primera Division after conceding 29 goals in 37 appearances.

Neither Chelsea or Atletico have confirmed a deal has been struck but the Belgian said today he will be heading back to Spain.

He was quoted by media in Spain and Belgium as saying at a national team press conference in Kortrijk: "I've chosen to stay at Atletico.

"I have to continue playing and at Chelsea there's (Petr) Cech who has always been a great goalkeeper.

"At Atletico I'm sure I can play and I can continue to be the first-choice keeper of the Red Devils (Belgium).

"In the course of the season, we will see if I return to London."

Courtois started for Belgium on Friday night as they beat Serbia 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier in Brussels and claims to have the blessing of incoming Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho to remain in Spain.

"I spoke with Mourinho and he told me the best thing is to continue maturing," he added.

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