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Petr Čech emerges as Courtois failsafe option for Chelsea

Could Čech return for one last go-around at Stamford Bridge after leaving three years ago? Recent rumors certainly seem to think so...

Chelsea are no strangers to bringing back former players or staff, either in a playing or a non-playing capacity — think Mourinho, Wilkins, Drogba, Di Matteo, Zola soon, Matić, John Hollins if we want to go way back; not to mention a sizable portion of the current Academy and loanee coaching staff, plus the likes of Nevin, Walker, and Sinclair on Chelsea TV — and if recent rumors are to be believed, legendary goalkeeper Petr Čech could be the next to do so.

Big Pete, sixth on the all-time appearances list with 494, left us after eleven seasons and countless trophies in 2015. He had spent that final season as backup to Thibaut Courtois, but he was far from done as a top level starter. As a sort of thank you, he was granted the rare permission to join Arsenal that summer for just £10m, where he’s been the starter ever since. Those three years also gave him the opportunity to finally nudge past the Premier League’s all-time record for clean sheets and reach the two-century mark back in March.

His time at Arsenal could be ending however, and not just because he has only one year left on his contract. The Gunners recently spent £19m on 26-year-old Bernd Leno, and while Čech vowed to fight for the No.1 spot against the man ten years his junior, the writing is very much on the wall for him. But he’s certainly not ready to hang his boots up quite yet either, recently rejecting interest from Napoli to stay in London, which was also a big consideration when putting an end to his Chelsea career.

Said career could yet be resurrected, as it turns out. The Mail joined Sky Sports in proliferating this rumor, claiming that Chelsea “have been offered the chance” to re-sign Čech, which we are considering as a fallback option should Courtois leave, which is likely, and Alisson sign with Liverpool instead, which also seems likelier than just recently after their push yesterday.

Chelsea have been linked with a few other goalkeepers as well, but the quality sure starts dropping precipitously. Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel and Stoke City’s Jack Butland are the next two in line judging by rumors, and at that point, we might as well take our chances with a short-term solution in Čech and address the position in earnest next summer. AC Milan’s young Gianluigi Donnarumma may also be involved somehow, though he may actually end up at Roma to replace Alisson.

Sentimentality aside, there would probably be plenty of concerns in heading into a season with 36-year-olds Big Pete and Big Willy as our two goalkeepers, but it might be the least painful in the long run. It is unfortunate that we find ourselves in such a situation, without a strong heir in the line of succession that has seen two decades of excellence in goal (De Goey to Cudicini to Čech to Courtois), but spending too much on a subpar option should be avoided.

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