Ray Wilkins has admitted that he is “extremely surprised” that former club Chelsea are allowing “world-class” goalkeeper Petr Cech to join rivals Arsenal.
The 33-year-old has asked to leave Stamford Bridge after losing his place to Thibaut Courtois, and is expected to complete a £10.9m move to the Emirates Stadium in the next week.
Blues captain John Terry has claimed that Cech is worth 12-15 points to Arsenal next season – a figure that would have seen the Gunners pip Chelsea to the Premier League title last term.
And Wilkins, who worked alongside Cech as both a coach and assistant manager at Chelsea, agrees that the Czech international centurion’s switch to Arsenal will make them championship material.
“I’m extremely surprised and I thought Chelsea might have offloaded him into Europe somewhere,” he told Sky Sports. “He’s been a fantastic servant for the club and the service he’s given the club has been unbelievable.
“I think [Cheslea have] done him a favour. Whether they’ve done themselves a favour is another question because with Petr going to Arsenal it reinforces their ability to be contenders for the Premier League title. I’m slightly surprised Chelsea have allowed him to go to another Premier League club.
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Wilkins added: “He’s a magnificent character – as a bloke he’s first class and we know he’s a magnificent goalkeeper. Since the unfortunate injury he got he’s maybe dropped five per cent but he’s still world class.
“He’s very calm and his concentration levels are 100 per cent. The way Arsenal play, they keep the ball for long periods but when called upon the concentration levels have to be spot on, which they are with him.
“I think Petr will give a great deal to Arsenal and it’s Chelsea’s loss. I’m pleased we’ll get to see him in the Premier League week in, week out now.”
Cech won four Premier League titles and four FA Cups apiece, as well as the Champions League and Europa League, during a decade at Chelsea following his £7m arrival from French side Rennes.