News that two of the most widely-respected goalkeepers of recent years are unsettled at their current clubs will have a host of top sides preparing offers they can’t refuse, with the fog of rumour hanging over Chelsea’s Petr Cech and Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas.
The Daily Star understands that the Chelsea custodian is hungry for a new challenge, with only the return of Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge stopping the keeper reviewing his alternative options more seriously over the summer months.
Cech is now 31 and the form of Blues-owned Thibaut Courtois on loan at Atletico Madrid – where Mourinho was able to observe the Belgian closely as manager of rivals Real – is becoming ever harder to ignore.
Courtois presided over La Liga’s most miserly defence last term and was awarded the Zamora trophy for best goalkeeper by way of recognition.
Realistically Chelsea must offer him a first team place next term to avoid losing a truly world class keeper through disillusionment.
With Barcelona likely to wave goodbye to long-term net-minder Victor Valdes when his contract ends next summer the Camp Nou would be a none-more-alluring new horizon for Cech and the clubs discussed a swap deal for their respective goalies as recently as January.
Meanwhile Iker Casillas’ much-anticipated return to the Real Madrid first team after the departure of Mourinho has failed to materialise.
Diego Lopez has held on to the jersey thus far under Carlo Ancelotti, a move which has reportedly led to sporting director Zinedine Zidane being enlisted to convince Casillas to remain at the Bernabeu.
The legendary stopper, who has amassed a mind-boggling 150 caps for his nation, has previously attracted interest from Arsenal and Man City.
In a World Cup season where Spain jersey adversaries David de Gea, Pepe Reina and Valdes will all be playing regular club football, Casillas’ divine right to start for his country will come under increasing pressure unless he can win his place back at Santiago Bernabeu.
Although San Iker would have Joe Hart to compete with at City he could realistically expect to supersede Wojciech Szczesny at Arsenal, where his former Real colleague Mesut Ozil is already ensconced.