In news that isn’t particularly surprising but which isn’t especially well-timed, Petr Cech is apparently set to rejoin Chelsea this summer.
The 37 year old spent 11 years at Stamford Bridge before joining Arsenal in 2015, and according to Sky Sports he’ll be handed a ‘sporting director’ role with the blues after his retirement.
His retirement, of course, comes directly after the Europa League final in Baku when Arsenal face Chelsea.
It’s adds yet another layer of intrigue/weirdness/banterosity to this game which is dominating the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The location is a nightmare for fans to get to; some fans aren’t being allowed into Azerbaijan because of their Armenian heritage; Henrikh Mkhitaryan won’t be making the trip; and now our likely starter in goal will be joining the opposition once his contract expires at the end of June.
What you would say is that however unfortunate the timing, Cech is a true professional, and will be 100% focused on winning the trophy for Arsenal and calling time on a storied career with another medal.
Whether it changes anything for Unai Emery remains to be seen, but he spoke in glowing terms about the Cech earlier today at his pre-Baku press conference.
“I cannot sit here talking about Petr Cech, as we could be here one day, two days, three days speaking about him – and it would all be positive,” he said.
“I only know him this year but he is amazing. An amazing person and an amazing goalkeeper.
“He played the last matches perfectly, with a big performance, and I want to enjoy this final with his career. I am privileged to coach him and we are going to do all our effort to win and to be together in this final.”
Emery wouldn’t be drawn on whether Cech would definitely start though, continuing, “At the moment I trust and believe in him.
“He played with a big performance and I could use him or I could use Leno, but above all I want to enjoy with all our players and a special moment with some players.
“I spoke with Aaron Ramsey, but he is injured, but it’s the same with Petr Cech; I want to deliver for him in his last match, playing or not.”