Petr Cech has found himself in the unfamiliar position of being second choice at Chelsea FC. Thibaut Courtois’ arrival at the club forced Jose Mourinho to make a difficult decision, and the Belgian has triumphed to take the No. 1 spot from Cech.
Speculation is rife that Cech will leave Stamford Bridge before the transfer window closes on September 1. Chelsea need to cull one non-homegrown player over the age of 21 before the squads are registered, and Cech appears to be the one earmarked for a departure.
Mourinho confirmed last week, per Sam Wallace at The Independent, that the 32-year-old goalkeeper would be allowed to leave if he asked for a transfer: "I think if that moment came the hierarchy in my club, the owner and the board – I come after them – Petr deserves to sit with him and to listen to him. He deserves everything from this club. But this moment hasn’t arrived yet."
Should Chelsea sell Petr Cech this summer?
If an offer were to come in from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain or Monaco, Chelsea’s desire to comply with Financial Fair Play would force them to entertain it. However, they would be making a big mistake in selling their record-breaking keeper at this moment in time.
For a start, Courtois has not yet established himself at Chelsea. He has plenty of experience from his time at Atletico Madrid, and he looks every inch the top goalkeeper that he has been lauded as.
However, he himself told the official Chelsea website that Cech has played a big part in helping him to settle at the club: "In training I can still learn from him because he has a lot of experience. He can give me some tips about the Premier League because there are some things I might not know. From the start he’s been very nice to me, we are training well and he’s proving he’s a great goalkeeper."
Moving Cech on this summer would pile the pressure on Courtois and could affect his morale, leaving the Blues reliant on Mark Schwarzer in goal.
Cech’s importance in the dressing room extends beyond his influence on the younger keeper. With a squad transitioning from a decade of consistent success, key players like Cech embody what it takes to get to the top. He speaks six languages, enabling him to be one of the first players to reach out to help new signings integrate with the team, per a 2011 interview with Matt Lawton at the Daily Mail.
He also represents a better back-up option than Schwarzer.
The Australian proved himself to be a competent deputy last season when Cech dislocated his shoulder, but he is less reliable than the man who holds the record for clean sheets at Chelsea. Although it seems unfair to sit a man who has won everything with the club on the bench, Mourinho has said that he will have opportunities to play when the cup competitions kick in next month, per the official website:
This period is hard for them and for me because there is only one match per week so the first three matches they clearly feel that some are playing more and some don’t, but in September with the Capital One Cup, Champions League and Premier League, with three matches a week, everyone playing, rotating, resting - it is an easy period for them and it is an easy period for me as everyone feels much better.
Chelsea can get around the foreign player cap by keeping Schwarzer but not registering him in their Premier League squad. That way, Cech will play in the cup competitions while providing backup if Courtois is injured.
If he is still unhappy in January, then the situation should be re-assessed, but it would be a terrible decision to sell him this summer.