Why Petr Cech Will Not Accept Chelsea Goalkeeping Back-Up Role of Carlo Cudicini

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentApril 1, 2015

COBHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29:  Goalkeeper Petr Cech walks out onto the pitch during the Chelsea Training Session at Chelsea Training Ground on September 29, 2014 in Cobham, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Don't expect Chelsea's Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech, 32, to be Carlo Cudicini.

Arbitrarily dropped for Thibaut Courtois, who has a higher upside, Cech is evaluating his future at Chelsea.

Sure, Cech has been a stalwart for Chelsea, but it is unrealistic to hope he willingly accepts a Cudicini-like backup role.

Courtois vs. Cech 

"My future was already sorted but it's nice to know I'm going to be here for another five years," Courtois said last September, per ChelseaFC.com. "Now I can just concentrate on playing games."

While Courtois committed to Chelsea, Cech remained even-keeled.

"I've been at [Chelsea] for 10 years, but the situation I am in is new to me," Cech said last September, per Sport.cz (h/t Ben Jefferson at the Daily Express). "I have no reason to panic, pack up and leave."

Despite being 10 years older than Courtois, who could become one of the best goalkeepers of his generation, Cech wanted to show his perseverance to Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

It was futile. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01:  Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea pose with the trophy during the Capital One Cup Final match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on March 1, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty I
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Featuring in 86.2 percent of Chelsea's Premier League season, Courtois is the clear No. 1, whereas Cech has only played five times. 

However, Cech's displays over the last two seasons shows he is marginally better than Courtois' current campaign from a statistical perspective. 

  • Courtois (2014/15): 25 games, 60 saves, 2.4 saves per game, 2.4 saves per goal conceded.
  • Cech (2014/15): 5 games, 8 saves, 1.6 saves per game, N/A saves per goal conceded*.
  • Cech (2013/14): 34 games, 80 saves, 2.4 saves per game, 3.3 saves per goal conceded.

* has yet to concede a goal.

"I don't think Petr is a guy to be persuaded," Mourinho said, per Jeremy Wilson at The Telegraph. "If he tells me he wants to leave, I will tell him my opinion that he is one of the three best goalkeepers in the world, so huge money [is needed for his transfer]."

Contracted until 2016, you presume Cech is not going to be a huge-money signing for a major European club, because he will be a free agent after the conclusion of next season.

What will likely happen is Cech running down his contract and exercising his Bosman right to a free transfer.

Or, Cech being sold to a major European club at a nominal fee, but this contradicts Mourinho's stance of waiting for a huge-money bid.

Unless, a club out of left field attempts to recruit Cech via a lucrative package.

You are looking at clubs from the Chinese Super League, Qatar Stars League and the UAE Arabian Gulf League.

Teams that generally would not have a realistic chance to sign Cech could potentially take advantage of an opening with Chelsea holding out for a significant transfer fee. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24:  Goalkeeper Petr Cech of Chelsea looks on after being beaten by the shot from Jonathan Stead of Bradford City during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Chelsea and Bradford City at Stamford Bridge on January 24, 2015 in Lo
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Why would Cech lower his status?

He could be enticed by a career payday, which is a more attractive option than sitting out the rest of his Chelsea contract. 

If Cech wants to stay in Europe and get paid handsomely, how about RB Leipzig? 

Funded by Austrian energy-drink billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, RB Leipzig should consider making their first-ever world-class signing by securing Cech, who will be an upgrade over Fabio Coltorti.

RB Leipzig are a sleeping giant in the 2. Bundesliga (German second division).

Wait, a world-class goalkeeper going to a small club—is there a precedent? 

Yes, you can draw parallels between Cech and Edwin van der Sar.

In 2001, Juventus tapped Van der Sar on the shoulder after going all-in on a once-in-a-generation prospect in Gianluigi Buffon, who is eight years younger.

One ambitious club pushed hard to sign Van der Sar—Fulham.

2 Aug 2001:  Edwin Van der Sar of Fulham talks to the press at a  press conference to announce him as the new signing at Fulham Training Gound, London. Mandatory Credit: Tom Shaw/ALLSPORT
Tom Shaw/Getty Images

Spending 11.4/£7 million on Van der Sar, you assume Fulham paid him outlandish wages.

"It was not a nice ending of my career in Juventus. I felt betrayed," Van der Sar said, per BBC Sport. "[Here at Fulham], I feel appreciated."

Like Van der Sar at Juventus, Cech feels unappreciated at Chelsea.

"I don't want another [season] like this," Cech said, per Idnes (h/t Sky Sports). "When a specific offer comes, I will consider it."

It is evident Mourinho is going with his intuition and backing Courtois as Cech 2.0, which was implied by cartoonist Omar Momani

Why Cech Is No Cudicini

"Arjen Robben and Cech were [signed] before I came here but I congratulate the people responsible for signing them," Mourinho said in 2004 after arriving from Porto, per Gerry Cox at The Telegraph. "I am very happy to have them here."

It was not lip-service.

Cech, signed under Claudio Ranieri, became Mourinho's No. 1.

LONDON - APRIL 23:  (L-R) Frank Lampard, Peter Cech and John Terry of Chelsea celebrate the win after the Barclays Premiership match between Chelsea and Fulham at Stamford Bridge on April 23, 2005 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Image
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

This was in spite of Cudicini being a statistically superior goalkeeper to Cech, per Duncan Alexander at Sky Sports:

Carlo Cudicini, the deposed goalkeeper, can feel hard done by.

He kept 14 clean sheets in 26 appearances for the Blues last season and was forced to make a save every 44 minutes on average, more often than the 55-minute ratio of Cech.

...

Few clubs in the world can boast such strength in depth in the goalkeeping department and if the Italian is happy to remain as second-choice, then it can only boost Chelsea's chances of scooping some silverware in the coming months.

NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20:  A portrait of Carlo Cudicini of Chelsea during the 5th Round FA Cup match between Newcastle United and Chelsea at St James Park on February 20, 2005 in Newcastle, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Cudicini's agent Luca Bascherini refuted claims his client wanted out amid a proposed transfer to Manchester United.

"It's a pleasure to be linked with such a big club like Manchester United," Bascherini said in 2004, per ESPN FC. "[But] Carlo is happy to stay and fight for his place at Chelsea."

That fight lasted another five years.

It is logical for you to ask why Cudicini essentially went into semi-retirement by accepting job security at Chelsea over being a regular starter at another club.

To answer that question, you need to understand the context of Cudicini's career.

Overshadowed by legendary father Fabio, who won a European Cup and is in the AC Milan Hall of Fame, Cudicini failed to make the grade at AC Milan and Lazio.

"My father is my biggest critic," Cudicini said in 2002, per John Ley at The Telegraph. "But I'm lucky to have a father who has done the same job. He can give me advice and help me a lot, as a father and a supporter."

One crucial sliding-doors moment which propelled Cudicini to stardom was the misfortune of then-Chelsea teammate Mark Bosnich, per the Sydney Morning Herald:

Bosnich grabbed his chance with both safe hands and for seven games was back to his brilliant best.

But, at the top of his form, the beginning of the end came against Everton in November 2001, when he tore his thigh muscle.

Since then, Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri has favoured Cudicini, who was apparently nervous at the sight of Bosnich sitting on the bench.

....

Bosnich checked himself into the Priory Clinic [and] is still being treated for clinical depression.

Bosnich has just about lost the lot.

The Australian goalkeeper has been sacked by his English Premier League club, Chelsea, after testing positive to cocaine.

14 Mar 2001:  (from left to right) Chelsea players Dennis Wise, Jon Harley, John Terry, and Mark Bosnich help launch the new Chelsea kit for next season during the Umbro Commission press conference held at Stamford Bridge, in London. \ Mandatory Credit: J
John Gichigi/Getty Images

Cudicini knew what it was like to experience hardship and uncertainty. 

He was a reserve who overachieved to become a No. 1.

Instead of seeking a new challenge, Cudicini accepted a cushy job as a backup, which entailed stability.

"[Cech is a] good keeper with a bright future," Cudicini said in 2004, per Andrew Warshaw at The Independent. "I haven't got a problem because [Chelsea] has to look forward. In that respect, I honestly think they've done the right thing."

Cudicini was right.

6 Feb 2002:  Carlo Cudicini of Chelsea saves a shot from Trevor Sinclair of West Ham during the AXA FA Cup Fourth Round Replay match between West Ham United and Chelsea at Upton Park, London.  Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford/Getty Images
Ben Radford/Getty Images

Do you know how much Cudicini cost Chelsea?

He was a bargain-basement 253,044/£160,000 signing from Castel Di Sangro in 2000.

What about Cech?

Beating out Inter Milan and Real MadridChelsea signed Cech from Rennes for 13.2/£9 million in 2004.

This fundamental difference in their worth as professional footballers is why it is highly unlikely that Cech will be another Cudicini at Chelsea.

+allanjiang.

When not specified, statistics via WhoScored.com. 

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