by Nia Griffiths
With the signing of Petr Cech potentially on the horizon, it’s probably about time to look at what signing the 33-year-old would bring to our squad.
After all, he was dropped by Chelsea for a goalkeeper 10 years his junior and wasn’t deemed good enough to start consistently for the league winners last season – why is he good enough for us? A team that’s also supposed to be challenging for the title next season.
Here are five reasons by the Czech international will be a great addition to our team if the transfer goes ahead.
Cech played for Chelsea for 11 years, featuring in 493 games and keeping 228 clean sheets. Even before that, he started playing for Sparta Prague – Tomas Rosicky’s ex-team – back in 2001. That’s 14 years of experience.
Compare this with our other goalkeepers, Wojciech Szszesny and David Ospina (who might well be off after just one season with us), and you have a tonne of knowledge, top decision-making and expertise that our younger keepers just don’t have. In turn, they could learn from having him there and he could have a hugely positive impact on Szszesny’s career.
He knows the game and knows the league.
He’s also got experience with success and has that winning mentality that everyone refers to when it comes to earning trophies. He wants to be part of the action and that’s probably what led him to leave the Blues – he wants to be back in the thick of it, barking orders from the back.
With all due respect to our existing goalkeepers, they’ve made their fair share of blunders that have directly led to us losing matches (Szszesny v Southampton and Ospina v Swansea, anyone?). Although Cech isn’t perfect, he’s also had more time to smooth out any kinks in his game and rectify any issues he may have had. Szszesny and Ospina haven’t had that chance yet and as a result, have cost us games.
Having an ‘unsafe’ pair of hands – so to speak – at the back makes defenders nervous and nervous defenses make mistakes. Having someone who they can rely on, who can direct the back four and who knows what he’s doing will filter through to our whole team, allowing them to play their game without worrying about a silly individual goalkeeping error costing them points.
Rumour has it, Cech could actually be also bringing Chelsea’s goalkeeping coach, Christophe Lollichon, to Arsenal if he moves.
The world renowned goalkeeping coach has been with Cech since he was at Rennes and is therefore partly responsible for the 33-year-old’s outstanding ability between the sticks.
With our own coach, Tony Roberts, off to Swansea, bringing in Cech’s main man would be fantastic not just in terms of keeping Cech happy, but also for all of our goalkeepers.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that never thought this transfer would happen. I’m still skeptical. The main reason is Jose Mourinho. I was convinced he’d rather stick a pitchfork very firmly where the sun doesn’t shine than even consider selling to us… but more on that later.
Some of Chelsea’s more fair-weather fans took to Twitter to mock us for signing their ‘reserve goalkeeper‘, although I think even they know what a huge disservice they’re doing the shot-stopper by being so flippant.
Petr Cech is so much more than just a reserve goalkeeper. John Terry even spoke out recently about the level of professionalism he carried at all times and what a loss he would be for the team.
Taking him from our rivals is effectively weakening them. It’s putting all the pressure on 23-year-old Thibaut Courtois’ shoulders and making him number one. It’s showing the rest of their squad that they’re breakable and not the unit they thought they were – especially the Chelsea veterans – although getting rid of Frank Lampard last season probably took care of that.
Arguably this didn’t effect them much, as they went on to win the league, but they also had a squad full of midfielders to full back on when Lampard left. The same can’t be said for goalkeepers.
It’s also showing that Mourinho is not the highest power at the Blues. Not by a long shot. Roman Abramovich still reigns supreme at Stamford Bridge and if he wants the sale to go ahead, you can bet your aunt that it’ll go ahead.
Plus, anything that even mildly annoys #TheChosenOne has to be a good thing, right?
Statement of intent
Leading on from the previous point, taking one of the best goalkeepers in the world away from arguably one of the best teams in the world sends a message to the rest of the league.
Pundits, journalists, old players and new players haven’t stopped harping on about the fact we need a world class goalkeeper and have done for years. I’ve even been guilty myself of getting a little anxious about our Pole in goal being our first option. However, we’ve strengthened and brought in an invaluable player who no doubt will be huge for us next season.
IF we sign him, of course.