by Lewis Ambrose
Last summer José Mourinho had a choice to make, and his decision eventually led to Monday’s events.
Thibaut Courtois and Petr Čech both had Chelsea contracts until 2016, and neither would sign without assurances that they would be number one.
Mourinho had to pick Courtois, the younger goalkeeper, the future, the right choice beyond 2016. But that left Čech in the cold. Imagine being a club legend, 32 years old, having won everything there is to win, and then being dropped.
Not just dropped but dropped when you still felt that you were at the top of your game. Petr Čech joins Arsenal as a man with a point to prove.
The goalkeeper’s statement on Monday said just as much.
“Last summer, things changed and I understood I was no longer the 1st choice keeper,” said the Czech international.
“During the season it became clear that my situation would not improve and as I know I am not at the stage of my career where I want to be on the bench.
“The limited playing time gave me the chance to refresh and rest mentally as well as make me realise just how much I enjoy playing football at the highest level, because I missed it badly every game day I was not involved.”
It is clear that Čech still feels he can compete at the very top, and he hasn’t lost any motivation to do so. That much was reiterated further during his first interview as an Arsenal player.
“I’m as hungry as ever and I have the same commitment and motivation to win trophies as I won 10 years ago, 15 years ago, or as a kid,” Čech told Arsenal player.
The goalkeeper has his first chance to prove himself against his old club on 2nd August, when we meet Chelsea in the Community Shield.
“During the year you can play against friends, you can play against big friends and close friends but once you are on the pitch this friendship goes away and you just focus on winning the game.”
Čech’s focus will be key, but there is no doubt that he still has the talent. This is a move which – as he has acknowledged himself – suits him. He’s at a club where he can still win the biggest prizes in the game.
Arsenal have got a little extra than they’ve paid for by signing a man who feels a little bit like he has to show that he is still at the very top of his game