Over the past decade or so, Petr Čech has been one of, if not the, most successful and talented Goalkeeper in the Premier League.
He has been influential for Chelsea throughout all their success. During his time at Chelsea, Čech has won four Premier League titles, Four FA Cups, Three League Cups, as well as one Champions League and Europa League.
It has not been all plain sailing for Čech however, as in 2006 in a Premier League game against Reading, a collision with Midfielder Stephen Hunt left him unconscious. Čech underwent surgery for a depressed skull fracture, an injury that doctors later admitted could have cost him his life.
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He has gone on to make a full recovery, however as a safety precaution, he now wears a protective skull cap which he will continue to do for the remainder of his career.
Since his arrival from Rennes in 2004, Čech has, up until last season, been Chelsea's number one Goalkeeper without any real competition to his role. This is due to his exceptional consistency and great leadership within the team. However, due to Thibaut Courtois's return from a three year loan spell at Atlético Madrid, Čech, for the first time in his Chelsea career, found his place in the first team come under serious threat.
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At the beginning of the 2014/15 season, José Mourinho made it clear that Courtois would be his number one, by starting him in Chelsea's first game of the season against Burnley. Čech endured a frustrating season at the club, his first team opportunities became increasingly limited, making just fifteen appearances in all competitions.
It now looks as though Čech will be sold to local rivals Arsenal, and if this is the case, it will be a terrific bit of business by Arsène Wenger. Arsenal fans have been demanding more marquee signings for a while now, they want to feel as though they have a squad that can seriously compete for the Premier League title and by signing Čech, a clear statement will be made that Arsenal are looking to improve their squad.
If Arsenal do complete the transfer in the coming week or so, Wenger deserves a lot of praise. By getting the deal done so early, they are not allowing any other team to enter the race to sign him. For example, if Manchester United do in fact sell David de Gea later on in the transfer window, without question, Čech would have been on their radar. He will also have the advantage of playing a full pre season, allowing him to integrate in to the squad before their first game of the season at home to West Ham on August 8.
Without a doubt, Petr Čech has many quality years ahead of him. At the age of 33, he is younger than Edwin van der Sar was when Manchester United brought him to Old Trafford in 2005 and if it wasn't for the tremendous form and quality of Courtois, Čech would more than likely be Chelsea's number one Goalkeeper for the next few seasons.
With the uncertainty surrounding the futures of Arsenal Goalkeepers Wojciech Szczęsny and David Ospina as of late, the signing of Čech will be a fantastic boost for Arsenal fans, with many feeling as though a change is required in goal if they are going to form a serious title challenge to Chelsea in the upcoming season.
Čech is still one of the best Goalkeepers in the Premier League, if not the world, and would be a real coup for Arsenal if he is to sign for the club. It would be a real show of intent from Arsène Wenger, who after looking to get this deal done so cheaply and quickly, can soon focus his attention on improving the squad in other key areas.
One thing that has stunned many football fans is that Mourinho is allowing Čech to move across London to one of their biggest rivals. It will soon become clear whether or not this is the correct decision from Mourinho, as by allowing him to move to a Premier League rival, Chelsea are without a doubt strengthening Arsenal, and many feel a safer option would be to offload him to a club outside of the Premier League.
Former Chelsea midfielder Ray Wilkins is also surprised that the club are allowing the 33-year-old to move to Arsenal.
He said: “I’m extremely surprised and I thought Chelsea might have offloaded him into Europe somewhere,” Wilkins told Sky Sports News HQ. “He’s been a fantastic servant for the club and the service he’s given the club has been unbelievable.
“I think [Cheslea have] done him a favour. Whether they’ve done themselves a favour is another question because with Petr going to Arsenal it reinforces their ability to be contenders for the Premier League title.
“I’m slightly surprised Chelsea have allowed him to go to another Premier League club.
“He’s a magnificent character – as a bloke he’s first class and we know he’s a magnificent goalkeeper. Since the unfortunate injury he got he’s maybe dropped five per cent but he’s still world class."
We have already seen Chelsea sell Juan Mata to Manchester United, a decision that has been criticised due to his outstanding form for United last season. Chelsea fans may fear history is about to repeat itself with the decision to sell Čech to Arsenal, a decision that could quite easily come back to haunt José Mourinho and his team.