Ever since the 2014-15 Premier League season came to a conclusion last month, the most interesting piece of transfer news was Arsenal’s reported interest in Chelsea shot stopper Petr Cech.
The 33-year old goalkeeper had been pushed to the bench since the arrival of the Thibaut Courtois last season. Hence Cech’s game time was limited to a paltry 16 appearances last season with only seven of those coming in the Premier League. But even then the experienced shot stopper conceded only 11 goals and kept 8 clean sheets in just 1417 minutes on the pitch, the entire 2014-15 season. Though Chelsea’s defence also deserve equal credit for that, Cech put-in a number of impressive displays to show that he still has it in him to perform well at the top level.
Wenger tried to bring Cech to the Emirates in the January transfer window but he was responded with an immediate ‘No’ by his Chelsea counterpart Mourinho. The club has been showing great intent to win big by signing two marquee players in two consecutive years namely Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. The team is just 2 or 3 world class players short to challenge for the Premier League title, the coming season. One of those players is a top goalkeeper.
If people think Cech is too old to be called world class then I would like remind them that the legendary Dutch goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar was 35-years old when he joined Manchester United back in 2005. Even the 37-year old Juventus custodian Gianluigi Buffon is still at the top of his game which was evident in the 2015 UEFA Champions League final. So Wenger’s attempts to somehow lure him to the Emirates makes lot of sense.
Arsenal and Manchester United were initially reported to be interested in him but United manager Louis Van Gaal has now turned his attention towards Hugo Lloris as United prepare to start life without David de Gea. Many leading newspapers in London have quoted that the Gunners are the closest to signing the Chelsea custodian among interested clubs. Last week it was reported that French champion club PSG had joined the race to sign Cech.
However the Czech shot stopper has a wife and two young children so he is understandably keen to remain in London where he has lived for the last 11 years. Hence Arsenal seems to be the best option for him as of now. Even Cech’s goalkeeping coach at Chelsea Cristophe Lollichon has hinted that he would prefer a move to Arsenal. Lollichon, who has worked with Cech for ten years now, believes that the Gunners have the ambition that would convince the Chelsea No.2 to join them this summer.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insisted last week that he would block a move to north London for Cech. He also admitted that however, the final decision lies in the hands of club owner Roman Abramovich after Cech asked for his years of service for the club to be taken into consideration. Earlier in June, Mourinho warned that for every club interested in Cech he could find a player that he likes in that team too.
Mourinho wanted either Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in exchange but Arsene Wenger immediately rejected the proposal. So Mourinho would prefer Cech to choose Paris Saint-Germain over their Premier League rivals Arsenal. However the Chelsea manager could still sanction the move if he manages to find a ready-made replacement for the Czech keeper. Mourinho is considering Stoke City No.1 Asmir Begovic and QPR No.1 Robert Green as the possible replacements for Cech if he leaves Stamford Bridge this summer.
Mourinho is known to play mind games with fellow Premier League rival managers. And considering the intense Wenger-Mourinho rivalry over the years, Mourinho would do anything to stop Cech from joining Arsenal as it would only strengthen us.
Hence it would be wise enough to conclude that Mourinho is the only stumbling block in between Arsenal and a possible Cech deal.