Mark Schwarzer: The perfect number two goalkeeper

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Jose Mourinho yesterday added veteran Australian goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer to his new-look Chelsea squad. 

Schwarzer became Mourinho's third signing of the summer following the arrival of highly-rated Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel and German international Andre Schurrle. 

Mourinho's first act in his previous tenure as Chelsea manager was to replace long-serving goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini with current Chelsea number one, Petr Cech. At the time this decision was greeted with scepticism.

Cech has never looked back. He has been at Chelsea for nine years and is proven as one of the world's elite. 

Six-time Czech footballer of the year, Cech, suffered a fractured skull in October 2006 in Chelsea's Premier League match away to Reading. 

This was a severe blow to Cech and to Chelsea. It was the first time that a reserve goalkeeper had been called upon. 

Ross Turnbull and Henrique Hilario have both been deployed however neither were of sufficient calibre to challenge Cech for the number one jersey. Nor did they install confidence in the eyes of the Chelsea faithful. 

The need for a back-up goalkeeper in the Chelsea squad has been plain to see for some time now. A keeper of sufficient quality to challenge Petr Cech and at the very least keep him performing at his best. 

In July 2011, Chelsea completed the signing of Thibaut Courtois from Belgian side Genk. 

Courtois has been loaned out every season since, indeed he has recently rejoined Spanish side Atletico Madrid on a season-long loan. 

Claiming that he does not want to play second string to Cech and hotly-tipped as a big star of the future, Courtois's future as a Chelsea player is in doubt. 

With Courtois on loan again and Turnbull no longer a Chelsea player, having recently been released by the club. Mourinho has turned to Australian stalwart, Schwarzer. 

The former Middlesbrough number one was recently released by Chelsea's local rivals, Fulham. He also suggested that he did not want to play second fiddle to Fulham's new signing Maarten Stekelenburg. 

At 6ft 5, Schwarzer is an excellent shot stopper and cuts an imposing figure when commanding his penalty area. 

He has become the first overseas player to reach 500 top-flight appearances, which is testament to his quality and consistency at the top level. 

Courted by Arsenal in recent years, he has regularly been linked with the top clubs but nothing has ever materialised. 

Arguably one of the finest goalkeepers to have graced the Premier League era, it is surprising that he has not moved to a bigger club sooner. 

With Cech now 31 and more susceptible to injury. Schwarzer could provide the perfect cover and competition for the Chelsea number one. 

If he can maintain his consistency and high level of performance as well as steering clear of injury then the 180 capped Australian could be a shrewd piece of business for Mourinho. 

Having seemingly snapped up a real bargain in the form of Schwarzer, Mourinho will now have to address Chelsea's need for a world class defensive midfielder and a world class striker. 

There is much to be done if Chelsea are to again, challenge for the Premier League but 'the Special One' is certainly heading in the right direction.


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