Čech signing could be game-changer for Arsenal

Petr Čech,  foto: Filip Jandourek, Radiodifusión Checa

Although neither club has made an official announcement yet, it appears that Arsenal’s signing of Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech is just about a done deal. Čech played for 11 seasons with the Blues, helping the club win the Premier League title four times as well as the Champions League. But after he lost the No. 1 spot to Thibaut Courtois last season, it was only a matter of time before the 33-year-old goalkeeper moved on.

Petr Čech, photo: Filip Jandourek
I spoke to the daily Sport’s Karel Haring about what the move will mean for the goalie and his new club.

“I think this is a very significant deal, especially for Arsenal. For many years we heard that they needed a top quality goalkeeper. I do not think that Szczesny or Ospina are bad ‘keepers by any means, they are very good. But sometimes the difference is made by the goalkeeper if you want to fight for the title. You need someone at the top for that.”

Chelsea captain John Terry suggested in an interview that Petr Čech could provide that difference, specifically an extra 12 to 15 points per season. Is that the kind of quality Čech could bring?

“It is hard to say exactly how many. Twelve or 15 points might be a little high but even six or eight would make a big difference and would improve Arsenal’s overall performance.”

Is it usual for this kind of big deal to go through between rivals like Chelsea and Arsenal? Manager Mourinho would have clearly preferred for Čech to move abroad rather than go to the cross-London rivals…

“It is fairly unusual, it is not common. But to understand the deal we have to go back to last summer, when Čech learned he was losing the No. 1 spot to Thibaut Courtois. He had only two weeks left in the summer transfer window. There was a meeting in London between Čech and Jose Mourinho and club owner Roman Abramovich. From what I know, it was made clear that if Petr completed all his duties at Chelsea, he would be allowed to choose his next club. And Abramovich honoured that, despite Mourinho’s misgivings. The decision was up to Abramovich.”

Petr Čech, photo: CTK
One recalls that moment when another Chelsea legend, Frank Lampard, went to Manchester City. When he scored against his former club he didn’t smile, his reaction was understandably muted. Do you expect something similar when Chelsea face Arsenal on August 2?

“We know what the reaction is with most strikers when they score against their former club – they don’t celebrate, usually. I don’t know if it is the same for goalkeepers when they win but should Arsenal win in August, I don’t think we will see any wild celebrations from Čech. He loves Chelsea, he is a very smart guy. I don’t think he would ever do anything like what we saw from Emmanuel Adabayor when he scored against Arsenal after moving to Manchester City.”