Moves to arch-rival Arsenal after 11 years
Chelsea have made a $9 million bid for Asmir Begovic as replacement for Petr Cech who has left Stamford Bridge to join Arsenal in a $15 million deal.
Cech drew a line under a glittering 11-year career at Chelsea with an admission that “life doesn’t always turn out the way you think it will.”
The Czech international claimed 13 major trophies including the Champions League three years ago while at Stamford Bridge. But he admitted he slipped behind Thibaut Courtois as first choice keeper last season and, with little hope of that situation changing, decided it was time to move on.
Cech had plenty of offers from some of Europe’s top clubs, particularly Paris Saint-Germain, but he wanted to remain in the Premier League. Even though Arsenal are Chelsea’s closest rivals, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich allowed Cech to move to the London neighbors out of respect for the contribution he made to the Blues.
Cech has signed a four-year contract worth a basic $140,000 a week and could face his former teammates in the Community Shield at Wembley on Aug. 2. Arsenal play Chelsea in the league at Stamford Bridge in September.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has for a long time wanted Begovic and hopes to sign him this week following negotiations between the clubs on Monday.
Begovic at 28 is five years younger than Cech and Mourinho sees the Bosnia international as an ideal replacement.
Courtois may be Chelsea’s first choice keeper but Begovic’s brilliance will prevent him from becoming complacent and is likely to play in cup competitions including the Champions League.
Real Madrid and United have shown interest in recent years for Begovic but Chelsea have always wanted him, stretching back to five years ago when they first made a bid.
Stoke are prepared to give Jack Butland, the England under-21 captain, the chance to start next season as first choice keeper.