Former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino has weighed into the debate over whether the battle to be Jose Mourinho's number one goalkeeper, insisting that Petr Cech should take last night's snub as a sign that it's time to force through a Stamford Bridge exit in search of regular first-team football elsewhere.
Cech was dropped to make way for Thibaut Courtois for Chelsea's Premier League opener against newly-promoted Burnley at Turf Moor, with Blues boss Mourinho preferring the hugely talented Belgian to a living Chelsea legend that has been imperious for 10 successive seasons at Stamford Bridge.
Cascarino thinks Cech has too much quality to sit on the bench and wait for Courtois to make a mistake, urging the stopper to explore his options and pursue a fresh challenge on the continent if a suitable opportunity arises before the transfer window slams shut.
When asked by Sky Sports about the battle to marshall Mourinho's defence Cascarino was adamant Cech should slap in a transfer request, declaring: "Well it's very hard. Petr Cech is 32 and he's not gonna like it. He's been an absolute legend for Chelsea over the years.
"But unfortunately for him he's up against and even better goalkeeper I feel. At 32 years old you don't want to be sitting on the bench. You don't want to do what Carlo Cudicini did, you want to be playing football.
"I think it will be very difficult for Chelsea to keep him and I think he could force the issue. You're a football player, why not go and play? He's achieved far too much to wanna stay on the bench."
Jose makes his feelings clear
Mourinho for his part was at pains to insist he wants Cech to stay and fight for his place following last night's 3-1 win over Burnley, but actions speak louder than words and Courtois was the man handed his full Chelsea debut at the first possible opportunity.
The Chelsea chief claimed: "I hope Petr doesn't want to go and I hope he doesn't have offers to go and, if he does have offers, he refuses to go."
Cech would be perfectly within his rights to feel the writing's on the wall following a rare Premier League snub though, but time is of the essence if he truly does see his long-term future away from West London.
Where could Cech go?
A reunion with former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid has already been rumoured strongly during pre-season, but that would rely on Los Blancos shifting under-performing talisman Iker Casillas to make room for a new goalkeeper.
Paris Saint-Germain look another strong bet to make a move should Cech publicly declare he wants regular game time elsewhere, although they took have transfer restrictions thanks to the looming threat of further Financial Fair Play sanctions.
Mourinho has made it clear with his selection policy that there is no room for sentiment when he picks a starting XI at Chelsea this season, but will Cech feel the same way with less than two weeks left to weigh up his options?
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