To much fanfare, Petr Cech finally crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s on his Arsenal contract this week, sealing a reported £10.9m switch from rivals Chelsea.
The Czech Republic goalkeeper’s arrival will, in the opinion of many, enable the Gunners to compete for major honours, instilling leadership skills and a winning mentality that have long been absent from what has always been a technically astute squad.
Understandably, Cech’s Twitter feed was swamped with the rapturous messages of elated Gooners, while a few players took to the globe’s favourite microblogging site to welcome their new teammate too.
Among them was Wojciech Szczesny, a man who stands to gain very, very little from Arsenal’s latest signing, who said:
“Petr Cech, welcome to Arsenal FC. Delighted to have a chance to learn from one of the best goalkeepers in the world.”
In some media circles, it is expected David Ospina, one of the north Londoners’ most consistent performers of the previous campaign, will be the man offloaded following Cech’s arrival, but logic dictates Arsene Wenger will want to keep the talented Colombian in the ranks after promoting him ahead of Szczesny last time around.
Prone to occasional bouts of comedy and concentration lapses between the sticks, the Pole’s copybook has been blotted with more than enough bloopers, but if a suitably low price can be negotiated, his could prove one of the acquisitions of the summer.
The beefy prices about all rival Premier League clubs in the market of who will be Szczesny’s employer come September 4th suggest he’s staying put, especially when there’s 2/5 about him still being on Arsenal’s books upon the passing of the aforementioned date up for grabs.
However, there is one team amongst the horde of unlikely potential paymasters for the Polish international with an air of intrigue about them – 11/1 Everton.
A player with two FA Cups, a Golden Glove award and an appearance in the Premier League team of the season to his name, despite being aged just 25, is deserving of a club competing in the top half of the division at least, rendering the Toffees more attractive propositions than Aston Villa (6/1) and Newcastle (7/1).
The Merseysiders’ mainstay stopper Tim Howard displayed the occasional sign of decline during an unimpressive 2014/15 campaign; at 36, it may be time for Roberto Martinez to find a replacement for the bearded American.
Signed from Manchester United initially on loan in 2006, Howard, like Szczesny, was a deposed number one and the success both parties savoured in this particular deal will only encourage Everton to look at bargains with similar backgrounds.
The Toffees aren’t the only outfit to prosper from the adoption of this strategy in recent years, with Lukasz Fabianski demonstrating his obvious ability during a stellar season at Swansea following his free transfer from the Emirates.
A move out of the forever-shining limelight elite clubs are forced to perform under enabled the 30-year-old to flourish (he finished one behind the clean sheet high watermark of 13 in the Premier League last term) and the fact he was deemed inferior to the Gunners’ current third-choice stopper from 2010/11 up until his 2013/14 departure indicates any prospective buyer can expect similar from Szczesny.