Chelsea are prepared to let Petr Cech leave Stamford Bridge this summer in search of regular first-team football, but only if they receive an offer approaching £20 million for a goalkeeper who they firmly believe remains among the world's very best.
Cech has been restricted to just four Premier League starts all season thanks to Blues boss Jose Mourinho's faith in Thibaut Courtois, which means that it's almost certainly time to end a trophy-laden decade at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old is a target for Premier League rivals Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool plus European giants Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, which means Chelsea can effectively hold an auction and sell the Czech stopper to the highest bidder.
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The race is on
At just 32 there's every reason to believe Cech still has plenty of years left performing at the very highest level, particularly when you consider some of his performances when called upon this season have been exceptional.
The Mail believe Cech could be the trigger for a transfer merry-go-round which sees goalkeepers swapping clubs life stickers during the close season, but only with a premium price tag.
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Arsenal should act now
Of all the clubs courting Cech you have to believe Arsenal and perhaps Real Madrid are the teams who should consider meeting that hefty asking price most seriously.
Cech would certainly represent an upgrade on Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, although it remains to be seen if Mourinho will truly do business with Arsenal.
Mourinho has proved in the past with Juan Mata's move to Man United that he's a ruthless pragmatist though, which means that Arsenal should believe a transfer coup is eminently possible.
Wenger could also definitely do with Cech's experience in the dressing room, with one look at how the Czech international has handled himself despite effectively being dropped this season telling you a great deal about his character.
Real Madrid also desperately need a long-term replacement for Iker Casillas, a player just a year old than Cech but struggling desperately to match his previously imperious best.
That means we have all the conditions for Chelsea to make maximum profit on one of their longest-serving players, though its Arsenal who should try hardest to ensure they emerge from this particular transfer tussle victorious.
Chelsea fans, how difficult would you find it to see Cech playing for another Premier League team next season? Who will win the race for his signature? Let us know by having your say in the comment box below!
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