By Derrick Kiplagat
Arsenal F.C have confirmed the long awaited signing of veteran Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, for a fee believed to be around £10.9m. The 33-year-old Stamford Bridge legend underwent a Gunners medical check-up last week and has put pen to paper on a long-term contract.
Cech lost his regular place at Chelsea when manager Jose Mourninho recalled Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from a three-year loan spell at Atletico Madrid and his subsequent relegation to second choice is what prompted him to look elsewhere for first-team football.
“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.”
Jose Mourinho was keen to keep a hold on the trusted stopper, or at the very least see him move abroad, but it is believed Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich felt the player deserved to choose his own destiny. There was rumored interest from Paris Saint-Germain, but keeping his family settled in London is thought to have been the most important factor for Cech.
In his first season in England he helped the club to a first title in 50 years and was part of the defensive unit that still holds the record for fewest goals conceded in a single Premier League campaign- 15 goals!
He won a second league title the next season and also boasts and impressive haul of two further Premier League crowns, four FA Cups, three League Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League.
The move by the Czech Republic International joins the list of the most shocking transfers in history, considering Chelsea and Arsenal have had a bitter rivalry in previous years and are both in the same city, London.