Arsenal’s imminent signing of Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech will, in the opinion of many, augment the Gunners’ prospects of winning the title enormously.
It’s now just 1/10 about the north Londoners wresting the Czech Republic stopper from their cross-capital counterparts before the closure of the current transfer window, while it’s 4/1 the Premier League trophy follows him next May.
A fee reported to be £10.9m has been brokered between the two clubs but, while this seems to be an especially high price for a 33-year-old, the fact the Blues are willing to furnish arch rivals with a player who will undoubtedly improve their first team has been met with widespread surprise.
It’s difficult to envisage win-at-all-costs boss Jose Mourinho sanctioning such a switch, suggesting the decision to sell Cech to Arsenal has been made above his head.
Business moves made on sentimental grounds won’t have secured Roman Abramovich his billion-pound fortune, but it appears the Russian ruler of Stamford Bridge has allowed his heart to dictate in this case.
Cech was one of the first players through the door following his 2003 seizure of the club, signing for £7m from Rennes a year later.
The Czech net minder proved a cornerstone behind the deluge of trophies the club have won since and, by way of reward, Abramovich has revoked Mourinho’s right to dictate where the player’s future lies.
This wouldn’t be the first time the fattest cat on the Blues board has got involved with transfer activity.
His love of Fernando Torres resulted in the most costly mistake in British transfer history (though Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria could yet spare these particular blushes), though it’s his affection, and subsequent acquisition, of another misfiring striker whose signing this Cech to Arsenal deal most closely resembles.
Andriy Shevchenko was bought for the princely sum of £32m from Milan ahead of the 2006/07 edition, the first year Mourinho’s Chelsea failed to win the Premier League.
Supposed insistencies from the top to play the hapless Ukrainian sparked rumours of feuding and discontent between the Portuguese and his superior, ultimately leading to his dismissal a few weeks into the 2007/08 campaign.
Clearly, Abramovich has acted against the Special One’s wishes again, potentially handing Arsenal the ejector seat button that could send Chelsea hurtling comedically from their Premier League throne.
The decision is unfortunately timed in relation to Mourinho’s much-discussed contract extension.
Revised terms to his current deal are thought to be agreed upon, but the parchment upon which they are penned remains unsigned and should the Cech sale go through, the manager may follow.