by Nia Griffiths
Petr Cech has addressed the elephant in the room since signing from Chelsea on Monday: what Jose Mourinho thought about the situation.
Speaking since signing with the Gunners, the goalkeeper was keen to mention their mutual respect for each other and the fact that they had a long ‘chat‘ before making any decisions. It actually all seems very amicable.
“I think it has been great to have a chat with Jose because he is a manager that I have worked with for the longest time in my career,” he said. “He had to make his decision at the start of last season, I had to make my decision at the start of this season. But I will always keep the best regards for him because I believe that we had so much success and so much respect for each other.”
The 33-year-old continued, “He is one of the best managers in the world. Now, we will be opponents but it will not change our relationship, I believe. You know, I learned a lot from him and one of those things was that if you have to make a hard decision, you need to make sure that you do it if you believe it is the right choice.
“He made his decision, I had to make my decision and obviously we’re now in this situation.
“I have a huge respect for him and we had a good chat about it. Obviously I know he would have loved me to stay, but that’s the way it goes.”
Mourinho has been the Chelsea boss for five years in total, on and off. Cech was there for 11 and therefore, as his longest serving manager, it stands to reason that they could probably talk to each other more as friends than colleagues. However, for this reason, the Czech international believes that the Chelsea boss has no hard feelings about him choosing to join a rival team.
Explaining a bit more about why he made the decision, he said, “Last season I realised that I am not in the phase of my career that I would be happy to be a back-up goalie and sit on the bench. I believe that in all those games I played I showed that I still have the skills and the level required to play as a No. 1 goalkeeper in the best league in the world, which is the Premier League.”
Touching on what the future at Arsenal may hold, he revealed, “Obviously I am happy that I have this opportunity to start my new chapter with Arsenal. Hopefully I will have as much success as I had at Chelsea.
“We always said that if I had the permission from the club and from the owner to stay in the Premier League that I would consider every offer,” Cech said. “This is what happened and I have to say Arsenal came and put absolutely the best offer, in terms of the footballing side.
“They offered four years of the contract as well, which is a big commitment from them for a player who is 33 like me. That was a huge factor because everybody showed me that they want me to be a part of the club, a part of the team. I spoke to the manager and I have to say that Mr Wenger presented with the ambitions and the project which I am really glad that I can be a part of.”
When talking about facing his old team again, he said, “Obviously I don’t know how I am going to feel — it is hard to imagine. But maybe playing the first game against Chelsea will be my advantage because then I will have that box ticked and I will be able to concentrate on the games then.”
Mourinho has also now wished Cech luck with his new team, although he was also quick to point out that the decision to let him leave wasn’t entirely his.