Thursday 25 June 2015

Cech signing compares to Arsenal's Jennings coup

Petr Cech's imminent signing from Chelsea reminds me of when Arsenal signed Pat Jennings from Spurs.

Although like Cech, he was no vampire keeper (afraid of crosses), Jennings was in the 'twilight' years of his career (get it?).

At the time of the transfer, I thought Spurs must be mental to sell their best keeper of all time to their hated rivals, but even I didn't expect him to play for Arsenal for 8 years!

Jennings' arrival settled the defence down, and Arsenal went on to feature in 4 cup finals in 3 years; it had been a while since the last one so it was a marked improvement from the Jimmy Rimmer era.

However, it was just the one FA Cup that was landed by Arsenal during Jennings' 8 years. That would be a disappointing return, if the same happened with Cech in goal.

Hopefully, John Terry's prediction that Cech will help Arsenal gain 12-15 more points in the season will prove to be true.

While I agree that Cech's cool presence will improve Arsenal's defence, I'm not sure David Ospina has done a lot wrong. I mean, how many points did the South American cost Arsenal last season? I'll have to trawl through all the games last season to work that out accurately, so if someone's got a figure please let me know.

The other positive about Cech's arrival is Szczesny will learn a lot from the Czech Republic international. The Pole is an FA Cup winner now, but still needs to improve to become the Arsenal great I always thought he would be. Cech may be the ideal teacher for him.

Meanwhile, it's 'adios' to Ospina, who appears unwilling to fight for his place. That is a great shame, as I think he would have be en the undisputed number two next year, if Cech finally signs. Maybe Ospina was angered by being left out of the FA Cup final first eleven and, if that is the reason, that's the price Arsenal pay for their strict but unusual cup selection policy.

Returning to Cech's imminent signing, the reported £10.9m fee seems a bit pricey, given Arsenal only got about 50 per cent more than that for Ashley Cole. From a financial perspective, Cech is nowhere near the bargain deal that Pat Jennings was. I believe the big Northern Ireland international cost Arsenal around £65k (if memory serves correctly, and I'm sure someone will correct me if it's wrong!).

Other than the exorbitant transfer fee, the other surprise about Cech is that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovic seems to have over-ruled his coach Jose Mourinho, who didn't want the keeper to stay in the Premier League. There are some reports that Mourinho prevented Iker Casillas from joining Arsenal from Real Madrid when he was manager in the Spanish capital, so it seems strange that Chelsea's most successful boss ever has less clout in London.

Nevertheless, Chelsea's loss is Arsenal's gain, and despite the exorbitant transfer fee I feel this is money well spent. The Cech transfer may well come back to haunt Chelsea, starting next season.

Shorts: Arsenal have reportedly signed Vlad Dragomir, Romania's U16 skipper. Let's hope he's not asthmatic or he'll be dubbed 'Vlad the Inhaler'!

Meanwhile, Arsenal are 'keeping tabs on' Baba Rahman of Augsberg, according to the Metro. The Ghana international defender will cost £10-14m, which is a awful lot of 'coinage'. He seems to fit the age profile of most Arsenal signings, being just 20 years of age, but I expect Chelsea or Man City to beat us to his signing, even if we have a genuine interest in the player. (If anyone does have any information on this though, please let me know).

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