With the shock but much needed imminent signing of Chelsea’s long serving goalkeeper, for a reported transfer fee of £10.9m, the 33 year-old’s acquisition will undoubtedly strengthen Arsenal’s goalkeeping ranks. It would be the club’s first signing of the transfer window, and one that would be ranked as a world-class capture.
But is Čech alone enough to help Arsenal challenge for next season’s Premier League crown?
For years now Arsenal’s goalkeepers have been criticised, with Arsene Wenger failing to adequately replace the likes of David Seaman and Jens Lehmann. And most recently many have questioned whether the abilities of current goalkeepers, Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina.
Čech’s welcomed arrival would follow 11 years of major success at Chelsea, success which includes 4 Premier League titles and a Champions League. The 21 clean sheets kept during his debut season at Stamford Bridge was an incredible achievement, and one that proved pivotal to Jose Mourinho’s 2005 title winning side.
He’s been a consistent performer as Chelsea’s no.1 ‘keeper for the last decade and it’s this calibre of talent, which on evidence, wins teams major titles. Arsenal’s current ‘keepers will find their positions under great threat as a result of his arrival, but one world-class signing can’t be enough to help challenge for major honours.
Even though Čech is a huge step in the right direction, a big club needs a big squad, with world-class talent in all areas of the pitch, not just in one position. And it’s up front and in midfield which many have called upon Wenger to strengthen this summer.
Up front, Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck are the team’s two recognised natural centre forwards, but even with the talent they possess, critics have questioned whether they are sufficient to fire Arsenal to the title, despite Giroud’s progress in the last 3 years.
One could argue that Alexis Sanchez already brings the x-factor the front-line has needed, with 25 goals to his name in his first season at North London. The manager may be reluctant to add to his squad in that position, despite being heavily linked with the likes of Porto’s Jackson Martinez and co.
Elsewhere, the centre of midfield is also a heavily highlighted area for improvement, with the depleting likes of Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini just not cutting anymore at the club, and Francis Coquelin being Arsenal’s only adequate defensive midfield option.
As talented as the young Frenchman has proved to be last season, every player needs some healthy and adequate enough competition to keep them on their toes, and for cover in the inevitable occurrence of an injury. The likes of Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin has been tipped to join the Emirates outfit for a few years now.
Bottom line, as great as Čech is, Arsenal must strengthen where they need to, in order to call themselves genuine title contenders. They need to follow Chelsea’s example, keep everyone fit and acquire the players who’d give them that significant pedigree to challenge on all fronts.