Hello again loyal readers – all three of you. Thanks for dropping by. If you’re expecting a well-written, informative and generally entertaining entry, full of interesting snippets of speculation, witty word-play, puns and put-downs, all neatly wrapped within the captivating context of Arsenal’s news, you’ve come to the wrong place.
What I do have for you is a pretty drab offering, for which I make no apology. I’m about to bring you the latest on the Petr Cech palaver, some warm words from one of our own legendary ‘keepers of yesteryear on his potential purchase, plus a couple of other bits and pieces. So strap in.
No sooner had I pressed ‘publish’ on yesterday’s post than the internet went into full meltdown mode, as news broke that Arsenal had completed Cech’s signing. All the reports were being sourced from the Daily Mail and as it turned out, they were the only ones confirming the deal, with everyone else scratching their heads and sticking with the ‘close but not quite’ line.
With neither club confirming the deal, the Mail clearly jumped the gun on this one and looking at their back page headline this morning, they’ve continued to run with it.
Not long after last night’s Mail article came tweeted denials from Cech’s management company Sports PR, who stated no signing was yet complete, and this morning one of their representatives told The Sport Review:
We aren’t making any comment on speculation. As we said yesterday, when there is any transfer news regarding Petr Cech, he will confirm it.
Sky Sports News HQ have a further minor update today, reporting that their sources expect the deal to be confirmed within the next 48 hours. The wait goes on.
But that hasn’t stopped former Arsenal ‘keeper and ‘keepers coach Bob Wilson from talking about Cech, explaining that he thinks the 33-year-old still has plenty to offer and that his signing would take the Gunners a step closer to winning the title.
Bob told BBC Radio 5 Live:
I think it’s an amazing signing. People will look at the two who are there, Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina, and the the point really, is that if you can improve your team in any way you’d be fools not to do it.
He’s 33 now, he still has five or six seasons of greatness in him and he’s going to give Arsenal that assurance at the back that they really need.When a side wins the league, it starts with the man at the back and usually when a side wins the league the goalkeeper usually has an amazing season. I’m not saying he’s the best keeper in the world as of this moment but for him it’s a marvellous move.
I was goalkeeping coach at Arsenal for 28 years. I had Pat Jennings and David Seaman as two amazing goalkeepers I was able to coach, I would have loved to have got my hands on Petr Cech.
It’s another step towards the title. Arsenal are very close to having a squad that almost matches Chelsea, almost matches Manchester City. I think everybody knows Arsenal are minimum two, maybe three, good signings (away).
Encouraging sentiments indeed, although I’m not so sure our squad isn’t already as strong as Man City and Chelsea as things stand. In hindsight, what denied us the title last season was not realising Francis Coquelin’s potential as the answer to our defensive midfield need until mid-season and a lack of central defensive cover, since remedied by the purchase of Gabriel Paulista in January.
Anyway, Bob also took time out to speak to SSNHQ, outlining Cech’s value to the defence as a unit, explaining that he wouldn’t have considered a swap deal involving Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Theo Walcott, his admiration for Chelsea for doing a deal with a rival and that Wojciech Szczesny should be pleased by the prospect of working with and learning from a goalkeeping great of the modern era:
It’s an amazing possibility for Arsenal and I wish this was an absolute definite. You have to look at the impact a ‘keeper like Cech has on those guys in front of him. He has been there since 2004 and he is a Chelsea legend because of the authority he has and the presence he gives.
I am delighted there is no talk about there being a deal involving Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Theo Walcott. I would hate that to happen and would rather say ‘no thanks, Petr Cech’s great but I am sticking with these young players I have got.
I admire Chelsea and if this deal goes through, and I assume it must because of Roman Abramovich, although I don’t see (Jose) Mourinho really backing this up or wanting this to happen.
David Seaman won nine major trophies and Ray Clemence at Liverpool and Spurs won nine major trophies, Peter Schmeichel likewise. I think Petr Cech’s total at this moment is something like 13, which is quite extraordinary.
David Ospina did really well at the end of the season but he is at an age where he will want to play, like Petr Cech. With Wojciech Szczesny at 24 years of age, I would hope he would look on this as a real possibility of learning more from one of the great goalkeepers of the game.
Little to disagree with in Wilson’s words there, apart from the fact I wouldn’t admire Chelsea in any way, for anything, ever.
Onto Calum Chambers then, who is currently away with the England Under 21 team at the Euros. The former Southampton man spoke – at some point before he left I’m assuming – to Arsenal Player about his first season at the club, how he has exceeded his own expectations and his thoughts on Arsene Wenger. You can read the quotes and if you’re a subscriber, see the video of his interview on the official site here.
Finally for today, Arsenal have announced two fixtures for an Arsenal XI side to be comprised of a mixture of players from the club’s Under 18 and Under 21 teams.
See you on Wednesday.