Liverpool Could Be a Surprise Option for Chelsea's Petr Cech

Nick Miller@NickMiller79Featured ColumnistAugust 19, 2014

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There was a pleasing symmetry to Thibaut Courtois's apparent assumption of the Chelsea goalkeeper jersey over Petr Cech.

Just as in 2004, a new, fully-formed and first-team ready goalkeeper has arrived at Stamford Bridge when an already excellent No. 1 was in place with no huge pressing need for a replacement.

Back then Cech arrived from Rennes to usurp Carlo Cudicini, whereas now Courtois has "returned" from one of the great loan spells of all time at Atletico Madrid, ready to be the man between Chelsea's posts.

While it is only one game, it would be strange if Jose Mourinho was to depart from his decision to choose Courtois as his first-choice goalkeeper after picking the young Belgian for Chelsea's opener against Burnley on Monday night.

Just as Cudicini did a decade ago, Cech now has a choice to make: Should he stay and fight for his place, or look for a guaranteed regular spot elsewhere?

Mourinho claimed after the Burnley game that he doesn't want Cech to leave, quoted by The Independent as saying:

I want to keep Petr and, hopefully, he will stay at Chelsea. No player is happy when he is not playing every game and sometimes they are not happy when they are not playing for 10 minutes. Sometimes you give them a rest and they are not happy.

I have known Petr for 10 years. He will not sit back and relax, he will be exactly the opposite. I expect him to go into the training ground on Wednesday and be a top professional.

It's possible that Mourinho genuinely does want Cech to stay, particularly when one considers the trend seemingly emerging for big clubs to have two keepers who could feasibly be first-choice, rather than an established No. 1 and a backup.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor on August 18, 2014 in Burnley, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

This summer alone Barcelona have recruited Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo, Bayern Munich have bought Pepe Reina to compete with Manuel Neuer, David Ospina will challenge Wojciech Szczesny at Arsenal and Michel Vorm won't be entirely happy sitting on the Tottenham Hotspur bench watching Hugo Lloris—there are many examples of this.

However, there is a sense that Mourinho has made his choice and therefore wouldn't stand in Cech's way should an offer come in. His comments on Monday were reminiscent of those about Juan Mata in January, as per the Daily Mirror, claiming he wanted the Spanish playmaker to stay at Stamford Bridge a few weeks before selling him to Manchester United.

Therefore, the prospect of Cech leaving Chelsea in the next two weeks must be considered realistic. The good news for Cech is that he hasn't lost his place necessarily through poor play of his own, and there is little shame in being replaced by a keeper of Courtois's quality, so his reputation is still strong and his cache is still high. Therefore, he has options.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 10:  Simon Mignolet of Liverpool during the Pre Season Friendly match between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund at Anfield on August 10, 2014 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
Clint Hughes/Getty Images

The two most obvious potential destinations are PSG and Monaco. Both clubs have money, but neither have the sort of world-class goalkeeper to match the talent elsewhere in their teams. Of course PSG have Salvatore Sirigu, but even at 32 Cech would represent an upgrade on the Italy 'keeper.

If Cech was willing to step down a level, then Roma could be a potential destination, and while Atletico have signed Miguel Angel Moya from Getafe to replace Courtois, Cech would certainly be a more established option.

One interesting potential destination might be Liverpool. The weakness of their title bid last season was undoubtedly in defence, which has been strengthened with the addition of Dejan Lovren, but Simon Mignolet was occasionally quite unreliable. Indeed, Tony Evans, football editor of The Times, believes that Liverpool are unconvinced by their Belgian 'keeper.

With the money from the sale of Luis Suarez, Liverpool could certainly afford Cech, so the only obstacle would be if Mourinho blocks the sale to a potential rival.

Of course, he sanctioned the departure of Mata to Manchester United last season, who obviously weren't direct competitors at the time but could be in the near future, so the Chelsea boss has shown he is open to such deals.

The likelihood is that Cech, like Cudicini before him, will at least initially stay to compete for his place at Chelsea, but it will be encouraging for him to have a number of potential options.


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