Much has been made over the potentially summer-defining decision facing Jose Mourinho with regards to who he will make his first-choice goalkeeper moving forward.
On the one hand the Portuguese manager has the tried and trusted figure of Petr Cech. The 32-year-old has long been a dutiful servant of the Blues, and his status as one of the squad’s most consistent and reliable performers has stood the test of time. On the other hand there’s the raw talent of Thibaut Courtois. Fresh from winning La Liga with Atletico Madrid, and as burgeoning a star as you’re likely to find in modern day football, the Belgian epitomises everything that’s brilliant about Chelsea’s method of loaning young players out for first-team experience.
It’s a choice any manager would envy; there’s an argument to be made for either man dominating the No.1 spot at Stamford Bridge in years to come. However the arguments appear, in my eyes at least, to now remain firmly in the stands. Mourinho has made up his mind.
Reports today indicate that the Special One has contacted Courtois and made it clear that he wants him to remain in west London past this summer. With the youngster having already made it abundantly obvious that becoming Cech’s understudy is simply not an option, it would appear that the situation is only going to culminate one way. Unfortunately for Cech, it results in him leaving through the same door as the likes of Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard.
Though far from being close to an ideal retirement age, the Czech international can’t offer half as many years as his younger rival, and with Courtois coming off the back of such a sensational loan spell in Spain it’s difficult to support the notion of Mourinho gifting his services to another top European side. But, as they say, one door closes and another opens, and in my mind Cech should be angling for a move which wouldn’t change his situation all too much.
Fortunately for him there’s a ready-made suitor waiting to snap him up at a moments notice. Unfortunately for Chelsea, it’s one of their most bitter enemies; Arsenal. You don’t have to search for too long to find speculation linking Arsene Wenger with a move for a goalkeeper or five, and Wojciech Szczesny's lack of inspiring performances have left plenty to be desired in between the sticks in the Emirates Stadium.
Despite what the vast majority of Blues fans will likely opine, a move to north London makes perfect sense for Cech. Firstly it gives him the opportunity to remain plying his trade at the very highest of levels, without having to worry about adapting to a foreign league (as he would with Paris Saint-Germain) but more importantly perhaps it would give him the chance to show Mourinho first-hand exactly what he’s missing out on.
Already touched upon has been the fact that Mourinho’s hands are effectively tied when it comes to opting for Courtois over Cech, but that doesn’t mean the latter can’t strive to make him rue the decision all the same.