Petr Cech, the Czech stopper, whom Jose Mourinho first promoted to the Chelsea starting XI more than a decade ago, has been pivotal in the club's success over the past decade, and has been consistently amongst the best keepers in the world.
His fellow decorated colleagues including Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, and John Terry, have all gone through ups and downs in the blue shirt, but Cech has been undisputed.
One might argue that his place in the XI has been almost unchallenged, with the likes of Henrique Hillario and Mark Schwarzer not exactly pushing him, and Carlo Cudicini perhaps not that competitive.
But, few or perhaps none could have displaced Cech, given the remarkable stats he has been able to produce, with 166 clean sheets and three Golden Gloves during his illustrious Premier League tenure.
However, the return of Mourinho, followed by the intent to build for the future, leaves Cech at an unfamiliar place.
At the age of 32, his goalkeeping career is far from over, but compared to the talent and athletics of Thibaut Courtois, at just 21, it takes little sense to figure out why Cech has been on the bench.
Cech is no longer the player he was four years ago. And although his talent and experience still make him formidable, Courtois has talent, and the exuberance of youth, plus invaluable European experience already.
And Courtois' latest displays against Liverpool, coming in the Capital One Cup semi-final this week, further affirms his position on the XI, and Cech's probable secondary role.
As such, for a club that has to be extensively wary of FFP and balancing the transfer fees, selling a world class player, no longer pivotal to the team, could make a lot of sense. However, such a transfer should only be abroad and not to a rival in the league.
Someone like Cech, would easily strengthen the defence of PL rivals Liverpool and Arsenal, and would hamper Chelsea's quest for dominance. Chelsea should instead play the domino game.
Real Madrid's need to replace the ageing Iker Casillas, 35, could be subdued by signing Cech for now. At 32, he still has enough to play for, and would also be a Galactico signing per-se. Carlo Ancelotti who has already worked with Cech, would certainly welcome him with open arms.
This would also mean keeping David de Gea out of Real Madrid for some more time. It seems possible that the hypothetical De Gea move to Madrid,would ideally be a part exchange for Gareth Bale. And a United loaded with the Welshman would not be one Chelsea would want to consider.
And if Madrid sign De Gea after a couple of years, it also ensures that the Galactico signing urge does not pull them toward Courtois, who is already established among the world's best.
Premier League record
Cech is loyal to Chelsea and wouldn't want to compete against the club, but could he be tempted to stay in the Premier League in order to clinch the clean sheets record?
Currently sitting at 166 clean sheets, four behind David James, the record is his for the taking. He could, realistically, still achieve it with Chelsea.
The dominance and consistency Cech has had in his career, it is a record he deserves and probably would keep for years to come. We shall see how that one pans out.
By playing Cech in the Premier League and Courtois in the cup competitions, Mourinho could handle this in the perfect way. Both his world class 'keepers get enough game time. Courtois gets to play in the finals, the crucial important games, and Cech gets to play in the Blues' march to the title once more.
Cech could easily get his five clean sheets in the remainder campaign. And then he can move on to different pastures, and continue at a top club, much like he's used to, rather than be a stop gag in building back the fallen glories of Arsenal or Liverpool.
Mourinho needs to set aside his stagnant philosophy of not rotating a winning team, and use the immense talent depth the Blues squad has to maximise results or risk losing the long war of dominance he has started.
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