With the summer transfer window in full swing, much of the talk surrounding Chelsea has been around the striker situation. With the club confirming an agreement to sign Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa earlier this week, there has been a new development at the other end of the pitch.
Petr Cech’s future at Chelsea has been uncertain for a while now. The Blues have one of the best young goalkeepers in the world on their books in the form of Thibaut Courtois, and it was generally accepted that he would return to Stamford Bridge as the No. 1 after three successful seasons on loan at Atletico.
Cech’s shoulder injury, sustained at Atletico, only strengthened those rumours, and a few fans were readying themselves to bid farewell to the keeper who had helped them win everything over the past decade.
However, a report from Simon Johnson at the Evening Standard has cast doubt on whether Cech is ready to hand over to Courtois yet. His representative Viktor Kolar has said:
We have not been given any signals that Petr would be made available [for transfer]. If that was the case, though, you have to realise that Petr is one of the world's top goalkeepers and has a certain salary. There are not many clubs who could afford to sign him…
Nothing changes. He has two years left on his Chelsea contract and has an interest to continue there. [Jose] Mourinho did not tell him that he would not count on him anymore…
Petr isn't 20 anymore. His family are satisfied living in London. Petr is satisfied at Chelsea and there is interest in his services even after his active football career, so that they would want him to continue in some position at the club.
This last quote is key to understanding where Cech’s Chelsea future could lie. Although Courtois is yet to sign a new deal and has not been added to the first-team section of the website thus far, as per B/R UK staff, he is undoubtedly the future shot-stopper at Stamford Bridge. He reached his 100th career clean sheet at the World Cup, and Mourinho has made it plain that he expects the Belgian to be at Chelsea’s pre-season training when the tournament is over, per BBC Sport.
Whether Courtois will come straight in as the first choice keeper or be made to challenge Cech is debatable at the moment. He will certainly have the advantage while Cech recovers from his shoulder injury, and it is unlikely that he would be comfortable sitting on the bench after so much success with Atletico.
At 32 years old, Cech is still relatively young for a goalkeeper. However, the head injury that he sustained in the Reading game in 2006 will have knocked a few years off of his career. In 2011, Courtois revealed to the Daily Mail that Chelsea's goalkeeping coach had told him that Cech only had three years left as the No. 1, and that time is now up.
It could be that the 2014-15 season is another one of transition, only this time it will be the goalkeeping master mentoring his young apprentice before taking up a role as part of the coaching team.