Petr Cech: Why Arsenal was perfect choice

Petr Cech’s overwhelming desire to remain in the Premier League and Arsene Wenger’s persuasiveness were the motivating factors in the Czech goalkeeper’s move to Arsenal.

Petr Cech: Why Arsenal was perfect choice

Cech ended a trophy-laden 11-year association with Chelsea yesterday after finally completing a long anticipated move to their London neighbours Arsenal.

While Arsenal have not disclosed the length of the contract or fee, it is understood Cech has been signed for £10 million (€14m) and has penned a four-year deal.

That in itself highlights the regard in which Arsenal boss Wenger holds the 33-year-old, who found himself behind Thibaut Courtois in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge last season.

Cech made just 16 of his 494 total appearances in all competitions in the Blues’ 2014/15 campaign, so the offer of first-team football at a successful Premier League club proved too strong to reject.

And even though he won 13 trophies at Stamford Bridge, including four Premier League titles and the 2012/13 Champions League, Cech insisted his ambition had not been blunted.

He said: “It is exciting. I first came to the Premier League a long time ago and I still love playing in the Premier League and the challenges it poses with the great players and great teams you have to face every week.

“Arsenal are a team that challenge for the top and definitely matches my ambitions and personal motivation.

“I spoke to the manager Arsene Wenger and it was a big difference as I am hungry as ever and I have the same commitment and motivation to win trophies as I did 10 years ago or as a kid.”

Wenger himself revealed his delight at his latest acquisition, Arsenal’s first signing of the summer, who will face competition from Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina for the number one jersey.

“Petr Cech is a player that I have admired for a long time and I am very pleased that he has decided to join us,” said Wenger.

“He has proven over many seasons that he is one of the outstanding keepers in the world and he will add great strength to our squad.”

Chelsea described the departing custodian as an “icon” on their website, and Cech posted a lengthy letter to their supporters on his Twitter page.

“I thought this would never happen but it is time for me to say goodbye to Chelsea Football Club,” he wrote.

“The club I have lived every single minute for since joining July 2004, the club in which I thought I’d hang my gloves and boots one day and finish my career. But life doesn’t always turn out the way you think it will.

“Last summer, things changed and I understood I was no longer the first choice keeper but I felt it was not the right time for me to go.

“During the season it became clear that my situation would not improve and as I know I am not at the stage of my career where I want to be on the bench, I made my decision to move on and look for new challenges.”

Cech expressed his gratitude towards Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich for allowing him to remain in England, even though it meant selling him to a potential title rival this season.

He said: “I spoke to Mr Abramovich about me staying in the Premier League and I’d like to thank him from the bottom of my heart for his support.

“It means so much to me because without him Chelsea Football Club would not be where it is now.

“He deserves huge credit for what he has done for the club and for all of us.”

Cech, who joined Chelsea from Rennes in July 2004 for £7m (€10m) then hailed the Blues supporters, adding: “I did everything for you and you gave me your love back. I’ll never forget it. It will stay with me forever.

“We will meet again but this time I will be in the other goal — I hope you will remember our history and understand it is time for me to begin a new adventure.”

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey responded to Cech’s arrival by posting on Twitter: “Wow, what a signing. One of the best Premier League keepers ever.”

Gunners forward Theo Walcott tweeted that he scored his first Arsenal goal against Cech — in the 2007 League Cup final — to which his new team-mate replied: “Happy it won’t happen again.”

Szczesny said: “Delighted to have a chance to learn from one of the best GK’s in the world.”

Cech, Arsenal’s first signing of the summer, could face Chelsea as early as 2 August, when the two sides meet in the Community Shield at Wembley.

Cech admits it will feel “strange” to line up against the Blues.

“This will be one of the days [that is] very exciting and very strange at the same time. I have to say, having been with Chelsea for 11 years and having so much success and great memories, I guess it will be a very strange feeling to be on the other side.

“But once you’re on the pitch, you play for your team and you want to win and you just focus on winning the game.”

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