Petr Cech doesn't have to play second fiddle to anybody.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has the kind of tactical headache any manager would grapple with; he has two great goalkeepers but can only chose one. Many are looking ahead with a keen eye to the Blues' Premier League match tomorrow against Burnley to see whether he'll select Cech or Thibaut Courtois.
Mourinho admitted that whomever he doesn't back could agitate for a move to another club, per the Daily Mail's Sam Cunningham:
If Petr [Cech] plays [Thibaut] Courtois can think about leaving, or visa versa.
I prefer to analyse this in that perspective. During the season if one is definitely my first choice I have to support and stimulate the other one. I can't have one of these incredible goalkeepers on the bench three or four months waiting for a Capital One Cup game. I have to stimulate the competition and I have to praise some top goalkeeper which is not my first choice.
With all due respect to Cech, Courtois would be the better option. He's the best young goalkeeper in the world, and the earlier he's integrated into the Chelsea first team, the more it helps the club.
Sky Sports' Graeme Souness begs to differ:
Mourinho may have tipped his hand when he declared that he'd leave emotions aside and simply pick the keeper who will help the team the most.
"[Otherwise] the best way for me work is to think in a pragmatic way," he said, per Sam Wallace of The Independent. "Forget all the emotions around the situation and just decide what I think is best for the team."
The more sentimental choice is Cech, while Courtois represents the more pragmatic.
If the 32-year-old is listed on the subs' bench for Monday, then he should seriously consider his future at the club.
I'll admit to being a harsh critic of Cech in the past, but his talent continues to be undeniable. While not the player he was five or six years ago, he's still one of the top-10 goalkeepers in the world. Maybe he's in the top five. Either way, the Czech Republic international can aspire to more serving as a backup, even for somebody as talented as Courtois.
The Daily Mail's Matt Barlow mentioned that Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco are potential destinations. Moving to Ligue 1 makes sense for Cech since he played at Rennes before arriving at Stamford Bridge.
French football journalist Jonathan Johnson wonders how serious the PSG talk is, though:
Daily Mail again linking PSG (also Real Madrid & Monaco) with Petr Cech if he loses starting place to Thibaut Courtois. Unlikely.— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) August 15, 2014
Zero truth in rumours that PSG want to replace Sirigu with Cech IMO. If it was Cech a few years ago, it might have made sense. But not now.— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) August 15, 2014
In the event that Cech is considered expendable, more clubs would likely begin queuing up for his services.
Goal's Wayne Veysey reported that Chelsea would consider selling Cech this summer so as to maximize his resale value. This time next year, the club couldn't demand much of a fee considering his contract expires after the 2015/16 season.
While that's entirely possible, it doesn't look to be the optimal option.
In a perfect world for the Blues, Chelsea would be able to keep both goalkeepers happy. Not only would they have great depth at goalkeeper, but Cech being right on Courtois' heels would help to bring out the best in the Belgian, while Courtois would bring out the best in the Czech shot-stopper.
Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester City all added accomplished goalkeepers this summer. Keylor Navas, Pepe Reina and Willy Caballero could all start at a host of European clubs. Instead, they decided to move to clubs in which they'll have to fight for every first-team opportunity.
Cech could very well decide to do the same thing, but he doesn't owe it to Chelsea to stay. He must do the best thing for his career, and if he reaches the conclusion that that's playing every week, then you can't begrudge the choice.