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Report: Mark Schwarzer joins Chelsea

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Veteran Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has reportedly-signed with Chelsea on a free transfer from neighbours Fulham.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

If you'd have had a list of players Chelsea were after to fill the newly-vacant Hilario Role,* I'd bet 40-year-old Mark Schwarzer wouldn't have been on that list. As it turns out, that view would have been misguided. Today, the Australian has signed a one-year deal at Chelsea to fill that role. After sixteen years in England as No. 1 with Middlesbrough and Fulham, Schwarzer has moved across Hammersmith and Fulham to Stamford Bridge. At 40, he's unlikely to get a starting role in any top league, but as a No. 2, he's a definite upgrade to Ross Turnbull and Hilario.

According to very-reliable Times:

Chelsea have signed Mark Schwarzer, the former Fulham goalkeeper, on a one-year contract. The 40-year-old Australian will move across southwest London to provide back-up to Petr Cech at Stamford Bridge after leaving Craven Cottage at the end of last season.

Really, it's hard to see any negatives in this deal. He's a dedicated, experienced goalkeeper who will provide valuable twice-a-year backup services for Chelsea, and fill a spot on the bench quite nicely. As I said, he's a better backup option for a year than either of the two keepers we let go recently, even in the end stages of his career. On the financial side, he hasn't cost us anything, and will be on minimal wages. The one-year deal protects us from any real risk, so there are only positives for me. As he won't be playing very often, we can probably use him to help our young keepers this year too.

All in all, it's a good move for a still-decent player, and much better than John Ruddy for £10m or so. Welcome to Chelsea, Mark, and with the greatest respect, I hope we don't need to see you that often!