Petr Cech has been Arsenal’s Premier League number one goalkeeper since he arrived from Chelsea in 2015. Despite being the first name on the team sheet, Cech wore the No. 33 shirt for three seasons. However, that will change when the 2018-19 Arsenal season kicks off, as the Czech goalkeeper finally dons the No. 1 jersey.
The 36-year-old has been a constant in Arsenal’s goal since joining the club, but reports claim new Arsenal manager Unai Emery is interested in signing a new goalkeeper for next season. Currently, there is a lot of speculation over which players will leave or arrive at the Emirates, and William Hill has transfer specials on top players and clubs. Cech is expected to see a new role at Arsenal next term if Emery is able to land a new shot-stopper. But what will that be exactly?
Will Emery replace Cech?
Arsenal has recently opened negotiations with Spanish club Sevilla over goalkeeper Sergio Rico. The Spanish goalkeeper is just 24 and offers Emery youth in goal. The coach previously worked with Rico while managing Sevilla and is comfortable working with the shot-stopper.
Although Cech has been given the No. 1 shirt, it looks more likely he will be Arsenal’s second-choice goalkeeper if Rico joins. The Sevilla man is valued at around £16 million, and it is unlikely he will play behind Cech.
Arsenal has also been linked with Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno. The German could be an alternative to Rico if the transfer with Sevilla doesn’t go through. Bayer has already signed Lukas Hradecky from Eintracht Frankfurt, which means Leno could be surplus to requirements. Regardless of which player joins the Gunners, it looks likely that Cech will be on the bench for Premier League matches.
Cech’s role for 2018-19
Cech has been a fantastic player for Arsenal since arriving. In Cech’s first Arsenal season in 2015-16, he kept a league-leading 16 clean sheets. The total was double David Ospina’s tally from the previous season.
The former Chelsea man followed up his debut season at the Emirates by keeping 12 more clean sheets. This past season, Cech kept 11 shutouts, the fifth most in the Premier League.
Emery and new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will see his decrease in clean sheets and increase in age as two factors to Arsenal’s poor defensive record last term. A new goalkeeper for the long-term would seem necessary for the club.
A new player in goal will most likely see Cech used in cup competitions. He may also be tasked with coaching some of the young goalkeepers and giving his expert advice to up and coming shot-stoppers.
Cech at International Level
Cech won 124 caps for the Czech Republic during an international career that lasted nearly 19 years. He debuted for the Czech under-15 team in 1997, and the goalkeeper worked his way through the ranks, gaining experience as he went. It helped make Cech a popular figure within the country’s football program and the Czech Republic itself. The goalkeeper retired from the national side in 2016 having set national records along the way. His 124 caps set a record that may be untouchable for some time.
Cech’s experience will be invaluable to Arsenal next season. Regardless if he is on the pitch, having a new manager and new players at the club, Cech will bring consistency and leadership to Arsenal. Although he may not be a regular when the Premier League kicks off, Cech could play his most important Arsenal season to date.