While the soccer world waits for an official announcement from either Arsenal or Chelsea regarding Petr Čech’s move from west London to north London, the Daily Mail reported earlier today that a deal is already complete. According to the publication, an agreement between the two rival clubs was reached and a fee of £11 million will be in place for the goalkeeper’s switch to Arsenal.
Although the Czech international spent the majority of the 2014-15 season playing second fiddle behind Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea, very few are doubting Čech’s ability as a leader and number one keeper for a top club. Courtois may have taken over the reigns between the posts at Chelsea, and is very likely a top five goalkeeper in the world, but there is not much of a drop off from the Belgian to Čech.
Both Chelsea’s manager and their captain are reluctant to see Čech leave the Blues for the Gunners. John Terry, Chelsea’s captain, recently voiced his opinions on the matter to talkSPORT. “I am sure if he does leave the club, which nobody wants to see, but we understand he wants to play football, he is going to be sorely missed,” said Terry. “He will improve whatever side he goes to.”
“There is obviously talk of Arsenal signing Petr and if they do get Pete, that will strengthen them for sure. He will save them 12 to 15 points a season.”
Jose Mourinho claimed last month that he wished to keep Čech, or at the very worst sell the player to a foreign club. The Chelsea boss stated, “One thing is Jose Mourinho and another is Mr. Abramovich, and another thing is the board, because the board is a little bit of me and a little bit of other people. If it was me, if it was my decision, the decision is Petr to stay. That’s it. It would be my decision for Petr to stay. Even against his will? Yes.”
“For me, decision number one, Petr will stay,” Mourinho said. “After that, second point, to go but not in England. The option I don’t want is for him to go to an English club. But, I repeat, I am just the manager and he means so much for this club and what he did in this club, I think he deserves everything from this club. If the club decision is different to mine I will accept it.”
In spite of the fact that Čech is now 33-years-old, there is surely plenty left in the tank for the goalkeeper. Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon recently proved that he is still a top player at the age of 37 during the Italian club’s run to the Champions League final against Barcelona. Manchester United’s Edwin van der Sar also played at a high level until he was 40, even guiding the Red Devils to a Premier League title in his final season in Manchester.
With the news of a potential agreement for Čech, it appears as if the penny-pinching days of Arsenal are firmly in the rear view mirror. The Gunners were previously forced into selling high-profile players to help ease the financial burden of building the state-of-the-art Emirates Stadium, however, with the complex now apparently paid off, the Gunners have splashed the cash for top players in recent years such as Santi Cazorla (£16 million in 2012), Mesut Özil (£42.5 million in 2013), and Alexis Sanchez (£35 million in 2014).
While Čech would be a major coup, the Gunners would do well to sign one or two additional (significant) players during this summer’s transfer window. Arsenal will likely challenge for the title either way, but if manager Arsene Wenger brings in a top striker and a defensive-minded midfielder, the Gunners could be set for a truly special season come August.
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