Petr Cech is a great club player, a great goalkeeper and a real true blue. In a time where the word ‘legend’ is certainly over used in football, it would be fair to say that you can class the big Czech International as a legend now and certainly when he leaves or retires. Personally I would love to see him stay at the club and grow on to a coaching role with his experience and goalkeeping ability being pinnacle in training our young keepers coming through.
However, I have slight doubts beginning to creep in regarding Cech’s overall ability to be our ever reliable number one, as he has been for so many years now. These doubts began ever since that horrific injury that he sustained to his head, which very nearly ended his life and is the reason he has been playing with head protection gear on. Naturally, when you have an accident that almost kills you, your confidence will drop and to me ever since this time, Petr Cech has not been the same goalkeeper. He does not command his box like he used to and more often than not he resorts to punching when he could catch and even worse, stays on his line when it looked easier to come and claim the ball, knocking out anyone in his path, like the top great commanding goalkeepers are doing on a weekly basis.
When you study the form of Cech, you will see that he is still a magnificent keeper and a great shot stopper, often pulling off saves that he had no right to get and time and time again being our hero and winning us vital matches, this will never be forgotten. I just feel that now, in the Mourinho transition, we need a keeper with all of the above, plus the added extra of the ability to command his box and be confident in taking crosses, taking no prisoners. We need a keeper who has it all. That man, is already a Chelsea player, even though he has been earning his trade in La Liga for Atletico Madrid, that man is the tall and commanding figure of Thibaut Courtois.
The 21-year-old Belgian International has been quietly becoming one of the best number one’s in the world right now and it is not being ignored by the Chelsea staff, who are keen to get him back to The Bridge and keep him as their player. This however, is proving difficult, naturally Courtois wants some stability to his career and has often murmured that he seeks clarification from Mourinho regarding his role at Chelsea. With a number of clubs wanting the Belgian as their own number one, this summer will be pinnacle to his Chelsea future. I feel that he will not accept another season out on loan, which is why we must make him our number one at Chelsea, or risk the alternative, which would be losing him altogether. This simply must not happen purely because we’d end up buying him back in five years time when he is nearing his peak form for about £30 odd million, which should not happen.
I realise that in goalkeeping terms Petr Cech is still fairly young and will probably end up leaving, I cannot see him accepting being a number two at Chelsea. But this is the sacrifice I feel that we must take. Courtois is already a great keeper who is an excellent shot stopper, great at organising the back line, has quick reflexes and most importantly of all he is a fully commanding and confident goalkeeper who is capable of picking out crosses regardless of who is in front of him, something that I believe gives him the edge over Cech.
I appreciate Cech and still believe he is a great keeper, but in terms of a transition, we must keep hold of Courtois and give him that number one spot. It’s not like he hasn’t been doing it on a weekly basis regularly already, because he is current number one for one of the best league sides in Spain. I truly feel that Mourinho will also be on this line of thinking and will make this big decision in the summer, when we will see a few more of the old guard moving on as well (Cole and Lampard). It is sad, but it happens, these players will never be forgotten and will always have a huge place in Chelsea’s history.
Simon Phillips – News Editor
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