Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted ten years ago that he missed out on signing Petr Cech long before he went to Chelsea, reported the London Evening Standard.
Now a decade later it seems that the Czech Republic international is still the answer to the Gunners’ goalkeeping woes, with the Daily Mail linking them again. Back in 2002 the North London club missed out on the player because he hadn’t played the necessary amount of games for his country to earn a work permit, so Cech went to Rennes instead.
Arsene Wenger said in February 2005: “We wanted to take him before he went to Rennes but we could not get a work permit. At the time he had not played the necessary amount of games for his national team.
“Yes, we missed out – but these things happen. He is not the only player we have missed out on. And when he moved to France we still had David Seaman and we had Jens Lehmann. But Cech is doing well and he is developing well. He has what you need to play in England. He has the size and that is vital.”
Back then the Emirates outfit had two world class goalkeepers in David Seaman and Jens Lehmann so it wasn’t a huge problem. However, since the pair’s retirements they have struggled to find a reliable man between the sticks. Meanwhile Cech has been a rock for Chelsea since arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2004. It has taken over a decade for the 32-year-old to be unseated, with Thibaut Courtois taking his position this season.
Wenger also said ten years ago: “People don’t realise how important that is. You get offered a goalkeeper of six feet-plus who is doing well in a Latin country. He comes here and he gets slaughtered. Therefore I feel Cech has the ingredients you need to be successful in England. Then last year, Chelsea did well. They bought him very early.”
The size comments may be surprising to current Gunners fans, with number one David Ospina only six foot tall. It has been errors from the Colombian which have drawn the London side towards the Chelsea reserve.
With Arsenal now going back to to their former target, could missing out on the Blues legend be Wenger’s biggest transfer mistake?