Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho admits he will not stand in Petr Cech’s way if the veteran goalkeeper decides to leave Stamford Bridge this summer - but has warned interested clubs that the Blues’ No. 2 will cost “huge money” to sign.
Mourinho, speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League clash against West Ham on Wednesday night, reiterated his belief that Cech is still one of the world’s best three goalkeepers alongside Thibaut Courtois and Manuel Neuer.
He hopes the Czech Republic international will opt to stay put at Stamford Bridge, but admits the 32-year-old is wise enough to make his own decisions.
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Mourinho: Cech could decide to leave Chelsea
“I don’t think Petr is a guy to be persuaded,” Mourinho was quoted as saying by the London Evening Standard. “He will make his decision and when he makes his decision I think he is very mature to decide what he feels is the best for him and is future.
“I will just wait wishing his decision is to stay, it’s my desire. I won’t waste my time trying to persuade him because I know nobody can persuade him. It will just be his decision.
“If he tells me he wants to leave, I will tell him my opinion and that is he is one of the three best keepers in the world – (if he does it will be for) Huge money.”
Arsenal and Liverpool keen on Cech
Both Arsenal and Liverpool are reportedly among the Premier League clubs interested in securing Cech’s services, while several top European clubs were linked with the reliable shot-stopper prior to the January transfer window.
Cech, who was named as the PFA Goalkeeper of the Year last season, was demoted to the role of Chelsea’s back-up goalkeeper after 10 years at the top, following the return of Thibaut Courtois last summer.
The Belgium international has been superb in his first full season at Chelsea following three successful years on loan with Atletico Madrid - and could be the Blues’ No. 1 for the next 10-15 years given his extraordinary talent and potential.
But Mourinho clearly feels Cech still has plenty to offer, otherwise he wouldn’t have used him for the recent Premier League clash against Everton or Sunday’s Capital One Cup final against Tottenham.
Cech should attempt to join Arsenal
Still, Cech is a goalkeeper with immense ability and shouldn’t be warming the bench for any colleague.
If he is not content to sit on the bench for Chelsea’s most important matches - which one presumes he isn’t - then departing Stamford Bridge at the end of the season is his only option.
Courtois is the better goalkeeper - Mourinho has acknowledged this - and so Cech’s only opportunity to play regular first-team football is to find a new club.
Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann recently stated that Cech’s best years are ahead of him, despite his age, and there’s no doubt he would be a significant upgrade on both Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina.
With the goalkeeper content in London, Arsenal would be the perfect next club for Cech - although the odds of Mourinho agreeing to sell one of his most important players to Arsene Wenger seems a little far-fetched.
Which club should Petr Cech join this summer? Will he decide to stay with Chelsea? Have your say in the comments below!