Unai Emery admits he was surprised when Petr Cech informed him of his plans to retire.
The veteran goalkeeper made his decision in January and will hang up his gloves in the summer when his three-year contract at Arsenal comes to an end.
Having started the season as our first choice keeper it wouldn’t have been a surprise had we offered the 36-year-old a one-year extension.
Instead, Cech, who has played 725 games since making his debut in Czech football, took the matter out of the club’s hands.
It’s believed we’ve since offered him a coaching position but that he’s more likely to take up a similar position at former club Chelsea. He’s also releasing a charity single in the coming days (proceeds going to the Willow Foundation) and appears to be involved with a company designing specialist sports training equipment.
Taking delivery of a Simo Ramp from SPECIALISED SPORTS EQUIPMENT by Petr Cech at training on Tuesday night ? pic.twitter.com/ss2mEKhD6t
— Tony Millar (@tonymillar68) May 4, 2019
Speaking ahead of the final game of the season against Brighton, Unai Emery paid tribute to Cech and his stellar career.
“Petr Cech is a big player and a big person, his career is amazing,” he said.
“In his country, after in France, here in London with Chelsea, now with Arsenal.
“When he said to us that he’s going to finish his career, it was in January. We were surprised by his decision because we thought he could decide later.
“He’s very mature. After his big career, he said to us he wants to finish with a good moment and he wants to do something important with us, with our objectives; to be in the top four, to do something important in the Europa League.
“I think in the last match at the Emirates we can say to him, thank you for all.”
Cech is set to keep goal when we head to Valencia for the second leg of our Europa League semi-final next Thursday, and, if we make the final, will continue between the sticks in Baku.
Asked if he could also get game time on Sunday, Emery was coy. “We are going to decide tomorrow [Saturday].” he said. “But our first objective is to win.”