The deal for Arsenal to sign Petr Cech from Chelsea has finally come to a close, with Arsenal confirming on their website that the Czech international has agreed terms with the London club.
Although Cech has seemed destined to join the Gunners for some time, the deal did seem to be in some doubt when Jose Mourinho confirmed that he’d like his former number one to stay on at Stamford Bridge or, failing that, to join a club that wasn’t a direct rival to Chelsea’s defence of the title.
His pleas fell on deaf ears, however, with Cech moving to North London on a long term contract for an undisclosed fee. Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger is delighted by the capture of the 33 year old, saying, “Petr Cech is a player that I have admired for a long time and I am very pleased that he has decided to join us. He has proven over many seasons that he is one of the outstanding keepers in the world and he will add great strength to our squad”.
Cech was quick to repay the compliment to the Frenchman, telling Arsenal’s official website, “I’m really excited about joining Arsenal Football Club and can’t wait to join up for pre-season. I have the same commitment to football, the same motivation and the same hunger for success as I had at the beginning of my career, and I love the challenges brought by the top quality players you face while playing in the Premier League. When Arsène Wenger spoke to me about his ambitions for this club, and how he saw me as part of this team, the decision was clear”.
Despite his decision to join one of Chelsea’s fiercest rivals it is unlikely there will be any bad blood felt from Blues fans. Cech made over 400 appearances for Chelsea during his 11 years at the club, winning every major trophy in club competition at least once. From a personal point of view he also won the Premier League’s Golden Glove on 3 separate occasions.
Internationally, Cech has been awarded the Czech Footballer Of The Year trophy 7 times and has received over 100 caps for his country. He currently sits just 4 appearances behind the all-time appearance record holder Karel Poborsky.
Starting his career with Chmel Blsany, Cech moved to Sparta Prague and then Rennes. He joined Chelsea in February 2004, having previously had a trial with the club in 2003. He came in as a fresh faced 21 year old who was prepared to do battle with Carlo Cudicini for the number one spot, with Chelsea having paid around £9 million for him. Cudicini got an elbow injury in pre-season that allowed Chelsea’s new manager, Jose Mourinho, to promote Cech into the first choice ‘keeper’s spot. He kept a clean sheet in his debut game – a 1-0 win over Manchester United.
During his time at Chelsea he won 4 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 2 Charity Shields, the Champion’s League and the Europa League. He only made 16 appearances for the Blues last season, however, and decided it was time to move on, despite having a year left on his contract.
He has now passed a medical with Arsenal and agreed personal terms and will officially sign for the club when the transfer window opens on Wednesday.