The squad announced on its official website that it signed the 40-year-old goalkeeper on a one-year deal. When asked about the opportunity, the veteran said, "It's a phenomenal club. It's one of the biggest and best clubs in the world, and it's an honour to sign for Chelsea. I didn't take much convincing to come here."
Obviously, it is a great feeling to know that one of the top teams in the world want you to play for them. However, he is clearly not being brought in as a starter with Petr Cech already on the roster.
The world-class stopper started all but two EPL matches last year and will have a similar amount of playing time next year. This leaves little opportunity for Schwarzer to see the pitch except in smaller tournaments.
This lack of opportunity would not be a problem if he was beyond his years and could not get it done anymore. Amazingly, that is not the case with the veteran.
Schwarzer had a solid season with Fulham last year, starting 36 of 38 Premier League matches. In that time, he put up these impressive statistics, courtesy of WhoScored.com:
Mark Schwarzer: The goalkeeper saved 68.5% of the shots he faced in the Premier League last season— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 9, 2013
Mark Schwarzer: The Chelsea goalkeeper saved the most penalties (3) in the Premier League last season— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 10, 2013
Additionally, he is still the No. 1 keeper for the Australia national team, which is looking to contend in the 2014 World Cup. If he spends the majority of the year on the bench, he will be rusty by the time he has to compete for his home country.
Grade this move for Chelsea:
It would be better for him to find a place where he can get playing time and show off his skill in the net.
On the other side, this move does not make sense for Chelsea, either. Usually when a club brings in a veteran, it is to help out the younger players on the squad.
As good as Schwarzer is, there is not much that he can teach Cech. The starter is also durable enough that he will not need a lot of time off throughout the year.
Instead of bringing in a player who will be 41 years old for most of the season, the club would have been smarter to get a younger reserve who could be developed over time. This hypothetical player would be able to learn from Cech and get better with experience until he eventually takes over the starting role.
While everyone wants to win now, it is also important to keep an eye on the future. Unfortunately, adding Schwarzer does nothing to help in this area.
This was a low-risk move for Chelsea, but it still made little sense for a club and player who both have strong reputations.
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