One of the great Premier League summer questions was given a definitive answer on Monday night as Chelsea opened their Premier League campaign with a 3-1 win at Burnley.
Stamford Bridge manager Jose Mourinho will have agonised over his choice of a starting goalkeeper long before the 2013-14 season came to an end.
Ultimately, it was Thibaut Courtois who came out on top over Petr Cech for the Blues' opening match of the season at Turf Moor.
It was, perhaps, understandable that the Czech Republic international would be looking for "showdown talks" with Mourinho over his future at Chelsea, as The Independent reported this week.
In the same article, Courtois called on Cech, who is 10 years his seniort, to stay at the club and act as a mentor.
The Belgium international was quoted as saying:
Of course, in training I can still learn from [Cech] because he has a lot of experience, he can give me good tips about the Premier League, things I might not know in the start.
He is nice to me. We are training very well and he is still proving he is a great goalkeeper. For the team it is better for us to have two good goalkeepers.
I don’t have a problem if he stays. Hopefully, I can play well and stay in the team.
There speaks a man who knows where he stands—Cech doesn't, as John Cross of the Daily Mirror reported.
Cech has been one of the totems of the Chelsea during the Roman Abramovich era and unquestionably one of the best goalkeepers during that same period.
He has helped the club to three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, a Europa League and one memorable night in Munich when the Champions League trophy was claimed two years ago.
Cech is a club legend, but time waits for no man, and few would argue with Mourinho turning to Courtois, whose form on loan at Atletico Madrid over the past three seasons was exceptional.
However, Mourinho will also recognise that the long-time No. 1 should now be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge with his dignity intact.
Still only 32, Cech will not be short of suitors, with his experience playing a large part in the attraction for other clubs.
Mourinho, Abramovich and Chelsea should not stand in his way if chooses to leave before the transfer window closes.
Believability Meter: High
It looks as though Cech and Chelsea are about to part ways. As Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard discovered this summer, there can be no room for sentiment from Mourinho in his rebuilding of the team.
Courtois represents the future, but Cech will also have the opportunity to establish himself elsewhere. The Blues should reward their long-time No. 1 by letting any move proceed without hindrance.