Football

Petr Cech could lead Premier League goalkeeper exodus

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Since its inception in 1992, the Premier League has been graced with some of the greatest goalkeepers the game has ever seen. 

From the greats of David Seaman, Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar to recent upcoming talent of David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois, the list is endless.

Following the news that Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Brad Friedel will hang up his gloves at the end of the season, we look at five of the best Premier League keepers which could be leaving in the summer.

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Brad Friedel

Age: 43

Clubs: Liverpool, Blackburn Rover, Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur

Appearances: 479

Clean sheets: 132

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Heading the list is Spurs' current third-choice keeper. Friedel signed for Liverpool for £1.7m in 1997 and made his league debut against Aston Villa on 28 February 1998. He made just 25 league appearances in three seasons for the Reds so moved on to Blackburn in November 2000.

The American probably endured the best spells of his career in Lancashire helping Blackburn reach a cup final in 2002 and became one of five goalkeepers to score a goal in the Premier League, netting in stoppage time against Charlton in 2004.

He later joined Aston Villa in 2008 and went on to make 114 league appearances. He saved a penalty on his debut and became to oldest player to play for the club from February 2011. The last move of his career was to Spurs in 2011 where he enjoyed a solid first season but was soon dropped following the arrival of Hugo Lloris. 

Friedel lost his record of 310 consecutive league appearances on 7 October 2012 when he was replaced by the Frenchman. He is eighth in the rankings of goalkeepers with the most Premier League clean sheets with 132. Hopefully he might get to add one more before the season finishes.

Jussi Jääskeläinen

Age: 40

Clubs: Bolton Wanderers, West Ham United

Appearances: 533

Clean sheets: 109

Next on the list is the fantastic Fin that is Jääskeläinen. He signed for Bolton Wanderers in 1997 for a transfer fee around £100,000. His superb reactions and reflex saves soon established himself as first-choice goalkeeper but he did suffer a serious injury in 2000 which kept him out over a year.

The Finland international had a memorable 15 years at Bolton and personal highlights would have been helping the club secure UEFA Cup spots on two occasions. In 2007, he received two honours for his outstanding season, picking up the Bolton's Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year awards. 

In August 2009, he was granted a testimonial match against Hibernian to honour his 12 years as a servant to the club. He left Bolton at the end of the 2011/12 season following their relegation to the Championship and joined West Ham in the summer. 

Reunited with his former manager, Sam Allardyce, he was installed as first-choice keeper and played all 38 league games in his first season. He then played half of the games in the following season before new arrival Adrián established himself as the new number one. With his contract up in the summer it looks like we will be saying goodbye to Jussi.

Mark Schwarzer

Age: 42

Clubs: Middlesbrough, Fulham, Chelsea, Leicester City

Appearances: 544

Clean sheets: 152

What a career the Australian has had in England. He originally joined Bradford City nearly 20 years ago and not even he could've imagined what he would achieve in the country. After just a season in Yorkshire he joined Middlesbrough in 1997 and went on to play 367 league games at the Riverside.

He became the Premier League's longest-serving foreign player to play for one club, surpassing the record of 315 games previously set by Dennis Bergkamp. His final Middlesbrough appearance came on the final day of the 2007/08 season where Middlesbrough ran out 8-1 winners against Manchester City. Not a bad last game, eh?

Schwarzer moved to Fulham in 2008 and played a pivotal role in his first season by keeping 10 league clean sheets which helped the London club finish seventh. This meant Fulham went into the Europa League for the next season and shocked everyone when they made the final. Unfortunately, this was the second time Schwarzer suffered defeat in this competition's final after Middlesbrough lost to Sevilla in 2006. 

The Aussie was released by Fulham in 2012 where he then signed for Chelsea on a free transfer. He had very limited opportunities for the Blues but did set the record for the oldest player to play for Chelsea in the Premier League at 41. He signed for Leicester in January as back up and after limited opportunities it seems his time in England has come to an end.

Thomas Sorensen

Age: 38

Clubs: Sunderland, Aston Villa, Stoke City

Appearances: 364

Clean sheets: 109

The fourth keeper set to leave the Premier League in the summer is the Danish shot-stopper. He signed for Sunderland in 1998 at the age of 22 and was instrumental in his first season, helping the Black Cats achieve promotion to the Premier League.

He established himself as number one and helped Sunderland finish seventh in consecutive seasons back in the top flight. He became a real fans favourite with the Mackems when he saved an Alan Shearer penalty in November 2000 to deny Newcastle a crucial win. 

After making 171 league appearances for Sunderland he moved to Aston Villa in 2003. He remained solid between the sticks and enjoyed five years in the Midlands. He once again got the better of Alan Shearer when he saved another spot-kick from the Premier League's all-time scorer in November 2003. 

In 2008 he signed for newly-promoted Stoke and helped the Potters survive in the Premier League. He will forever be remembered as one of the Premier League's finest penalty stoppers as he saved three in one season and, at one point, had saved five out of his last six.

In 2010 he lost his place to Asmir Begovic and has now fallen to third-choice behind Jack Butland. In December 2014, he confirmed he will be moving on at the end of the season. Farewell, Thomas.

Petr Cech

Age: 32

Clubs: Chelsea

Appearances: 332

Clean sheets: 166

Potentially one of the biggest blows if he leaves the Premier League because he has shown he still has a lot to give. He signed for Chelsea in 2004 by Jose Mourinho and originally joined as Carlo Cudicini's understudy. This soon changed when everyone realised how good the Czech international really was.

Cech kept a clean sheet on his league debut in a 1-0 victory over Manchester United and that was the first of many. He went on to keep 21 league clean sheets and only conceded 15 goals all season, both of which are records. He picked up winners medals as Chelsea completed a league and cup double.

This was just the start of his success at Stamford Bridge as Cech has gone on to win four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League cups, the Europa League and the Champions League.

Although there have been incredible ups in his Chelsea career, there will always be that one scare. He suffered a depressed skull fracture in 2006 which could have cost him his life, but thankfully, he is in good health today and always wears a precautionary headguard.

Bookmakers have PSG and Roma as the favourites for the Chelsea man's signature but there has been a lot of interest from Arsenal. Cech is now a family man and settled in London, so if there was an opportunity to stay then it might be his preferred choice.

He may also have his eye on becoming the record holder for the most Premier League clean sheets; he is currently behind three behind David James' 169. Though, can you really imagine Mourinho selling Cech to a title rival?

Who has been the best Premier League goalkeeper ever? Let us know below!

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Topics:
Jussi Jaaskelainen
Brad Friedel
Football
Mark Schwarzer
Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur
Petr Cech
Chelsea
Thomas Sorensen

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