Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech says he’s unfazed about the increased competition for a starting place. Bernd Leno joined the Gunners from Bayer Leverkusen this summer and could be the new No.1 for next season.
Leno’s arrival has put Cech’s future in doubt and has given manager Unai Emery a selection headache given his options between the sticks. Arsenal have Leno, Cech, David Ospina, Emiliano Martinez and Matt Macey, but the veteran stopper is still confident he can hold down a starting place.
“I have a contract with Arsenal. I am concentrating on this season, on the competition between the goalkeepers because we have plenty of options. I’m doing my best to show to the manager that I can be in the starting lineup when the season starts. That’s my aim and as for the speculation, I don’t really follow it,” Cech said.
The 36-year-old joined Chelsea in 2015 and has gone on to make 117 appearances in all competitions, winning one FA Cup. Cech has been inconsistent in his three years at Arsenal and was guilty of making a number of errors leading to goals last season in particular.
Many supporters called on the club to find a replacement in the transfer market and Leno might be that player. Whether Cech likes it or not, his days at Arsenal are numbered. His contract is up in 2019 and it’s unlikely to be renewed given his advancing age.
Cech’s experience and leadership could see him primed for a role behind the scenes, similar to Per Mertesacker’s final season as a player, but there’s been no such suggestion that will happen from the Gunners.
The former Chelsea man has been linked with his old club this summer, with Thibaut Courtois being potentially on his way out of Stamford Bridge. If Cech isn’t going to be a regular in the first-team at Arsenal, a return to the Blues might not be such a far-fetched notion.
Cech didn’t legitimise the rumours, however, which suggests he may be staying at the Emirates for now. If Leno does start the new campaign as the new first-choice shot-stopper, it will be too late for Cech to leave, as the summer transfer window will be closed.
He may say he’s unfazed, but he’ll be worried about Leno’s arrival and will be under no illusions of how last season went – Cech conceded 48 goals in 34 games as Arsenal finished sixth in the Premier League.