Emirates scouts thought Stamford Bridge hero was not good enough for the Champions League.
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has revealed London rivals Arsenal turned down the chance to sign him because they did not think he was good enough.
The 28-year-old has become one of the finest keepers in the world at Chelsea but the Gunners passed up the opportunity to sign him in 2002.
Arsenal were on the lookout for a new shot-stopper to replace the legendary David Seaman.
The Blues’ keeper claims he was watched by Arsenal scouts but they were put off by him not qualifying for a work permit.
The Czech Republic international ended up at French side Rennes, while Arsenal went for the enigmatic German international, Jens Lehmann.
Cech suggests it was not just the work permit issue that caused a problem but the talent spotters telling Arsene Wenger he was not good enough for the Premier League.
“Before I went to Rennes I was watched by Arsenal but when I couldn’t get a work permit the situation was missed,” Cech told The Sun.
“And at the last minute I think the person who was the chief scout at Arsenal didn’t think I was good enough for the English league. So in the end it didn’t happen.”