Arsenal are hoping to secure the signature of long-term Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech to boost their Premiership title bid next season.
33-year-old Cech has become disillusioned as understudy to Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Bridge despite the success of the Blues in 2014-15. The Premier League champions also won the League Cup to add to Cech?s medal haul but it is regular first-team action that the Czech International seeks.
Cech has been a mainstay of the Chelsea line-up since joining from Rennes back in 2004. His only lengthy absence from the side in the past ten years came as a result of a horrific head injury in 2006. The ?keeper underwent surgery for a depressed skull fracture which was regarded as life-threatening by doctors.
He returned to the team against Liverpool in January 2007, wearing the rugby-style headguard which has become a familiar part of his kit. The headguard includes extra plastic polymer foam to protect the areas of his skull weakened by the collision.
Cech holds the Premier League record for fewest appearances required to reach 100 clean sheets, something that he achieved in just 180 games. During Chelsea?s 2004-05 title winning season, Cech kept 25 clean sheets including over a thousand consecutive minutes without conceding. He was awarded the Golden Gloves in 2004/2005 and 2009/2010. The return of Jose Mourinho was the ninth managerial change since Cech joined the Blues.
Chelsea are expecting to be challenged not only by Arsenal, but also by the two Manchester clubs next season. Many pundits expressed surprise that they allowed Juan Mata to join potential title rivals last season. The Blues were also hit by the unexpected return of former Chelsea legend Frank Lampard in a Manchester City shirt via his departure to the United States. Chelsea fans will have mixed feelings about the prospect of Petr Cech in the opposing goal in next season?s big Derby games.
Whether or not Cech joins Arsenal, it seems inevitable that he will be leaving Stamford Bridge this summer. With Didier Drogba having also ended his second spell with Chelsea, it leaves only John Terry from the famous ?spine? of Chelsea?s team during the most successful spell in the club?s history. The Chelsea Captain believes that Cech could save Arsenal between 12 and 15 points per season. If that is the case, they will certainly be genuine title contenders.