Thursday 18 January 2018

Cech ponders United move to replace De Gea

Chelsea have told Petr Cech that they will not stand in his way should he wish to leave this summer
Chelsea have told Petr Cech that they will not stand in his way should he wish to leave this summer

Mark Ogden

Petr Cech is ready to consider a move to Manchester United as David de Gea's replacement after Jose Mourinho admitted he was powerless to prevent the Chelsea goalkeeper signing for a major rival.

United manager Louis van Gaal revealed last week that moves had already been made to replace De Gea, who is expected to confirm to the club that he wants to be allowed to return to Spain at the end of this season to play for Real Madrid.

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is a long-standing United target, and Van Gaal is an admirer of the experienced France captain.

But Cech, who is 33 today, has emerged as a candidate to replace De Gea after Chelsea informed the Czech Republic keeper that they would not stand in his way if he wished to leave this summer after losing his starting position to Thibaut Courtois.

Arsenal had been regarded as favourites to sign Cech, but his agent, Viktor Kolar, has admitted that a move to United would appeal to him.

"Arsenal, United or PSG are all top clubs," Kolar said. "And Petr would like to join one of them, definitely. Petr expects that (Roman) Abramovich, not Mourinho, will decide about his future, based on their agreement from last year."

It is understood that Abramovich has given Cech the opportunity to sign for any interested club as a reward for his 11 years of service, during which time he has won every major club honour, with the exception of the Club World Cup, at least once.

Mourinho yesterday conceded that he would not be able to deny Cech a move to United or Arsenal if the goalkeeper decided to pursue a move.

"If it's in my hands, he would never go, would never go to big clubs with fantastic teams," the Chelsea manager said.

"Big candidates to win the Premier League? I would never let him go. But it's not in my hands. My perfect scenario is that he stays with us. I think he belongs to this club, this club belongs to his history and to his life, too."

Publicly, United remain determined to fight on in their attempt to persuade De Gea to stay, having offered him a £200,000-a-week deal. But privately, there is a growing acceptance that the former Atletico Madrid youngster will be unable to resist the lure of a return to his home city.

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