Chelsea have sensationally named retired goalkeeper Petr Cech in their 25-man Premier League squad, even though he’s the club’s technical and performance advisor – and is not under a playing contract.
The 38-year-old hung up his gloves at the conclusion of the 2018/19 season, bringing the curtain down on an illustrious career that saw him win four Premier League titles, the Champions League and Europa League while he was at Stamford Bridge.
His final years were spent at neighbourhood rivals Arsenal, whom he made 110 Premier League appearances for, but Cech immediately returned to west London after retiring, becoming a member of Chelsea’s backrooms staff.
In that time, he’s witnessed a sharp decline in the standard of goalkeeping at Chelsea. Club-record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga has been an absolute disaster, making mistake after mistake after mistake, while backup goalkeeper – and golden oldie – Willy Caballero hasn’t fared much better when given an opportunity to shine.
To redress the balance, Chelsea opted to bring in Edouard Mendy from Rennes over the summer; the very same move that Cech made back in 2004.
Senegal international Mendy is certain to become the club’s number one goalkeeper – for the foreseeable future at least – but Chelsea have decided to name Cech as their fourth goalkeeping option, even though his last outing in front of a net was for Guildford Phoenix – a professional Ice Hockey team.
The Blues have confirmed his inclusion in a post on their official website, though they note that Cech has been drafted in as a ‘precautionary step due to the unprecedented conditions currently caused by the Covid-19 crisis’. The club also confirmed that he’s taken up a position as a non-contract player.
That won’t stop the rumour mill – and social media in particular – from suggesting that Kepa’s frailties, and Caballero’s, are the real reason for Cech’s inclusion, and whichever way you look at it, naming Cech is a unprecedented step for a club of Chelsea’s stature.