One of the longest-running transfer sagas of 2015 involves Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, who has been linked with Arsenal in recent weeks.
According to The Express, Cech is keen to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, but manager Jose Mourinho wants to keep him against his will.
The news comes as a big blow to the Gunners, who have apparently been chasing the 32-year-old since January, when The Telegraph published word of their interest.
However, Cech’s potential move to the Emirates Stadiums does not appear to be dead in the water. After all, the bookies seem convinced he is on his way at the end of the season.
According to Oddschecker, Cech is as short as 1/10 with 888sport to leave Stamford Bridge this summer, while he is only 5/2 with skyBET to move to Arsenal.
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If Arsenal can push a deal through and get Cech to move across London then Arsene Wenger’s men would be genuine title contenders next term.
The Gunners have no problems scoring goals – they have bagged 66 goals in 35 Premier League matches this season, giving them an average of 1.89 goals per game – a record which is only 0.05 goals per game behind champions Chelsea.
Arsenal’s problems are at the other end. They concede 0.94 goals per game on average, while Chelsea’s average is significantly better – 0.77.
David Ospina – Arsenal’s current first choice stopper – is not a bad goalkeeper by any stretch of the imagination. After all, he possesses excellent reflexes and has 53 senior international caps to his name.
However, he is not on the same planet as Cech.
Cech is superior in every department. One of the most significant differences is the way the two keepers go about their work when it comes to dealing with crosses.
Ospina, who is 6ft exactly, struggles to command his penalty area and often resorts to punching the ball in situations where 6ft 5in Cech would be confident in his ability to catch.
This makes a huge difference to a defence. For one, when Cech catches the ball his team regain possession, meaning the threat of conceding is over. Whereas, although Ospina’s punches are often successful, there is always the chance that the ball could rebound to the opposition, leading to a goal.
Opina’s lack of a presence between the sticks is not only an issue when dealing with crosses. The last two goals the Gunners have conceded have been down to his poor positioning and inability to fill his goal. Watch those goals – against Hull and Swansea – below…
Cech is more confident that Ospina and that is infectious – it makes his defenders more confident.
Who knows? His arrival could improve Arsenal’s backline by as much at 20% – and that would probably be enough to see the Gunners overtake Chelsea as England’s top team.
No wonder Mourinho is reluctant to do a deal with Arsenal.