Petr Cech made a personal point yesterday of thanking Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich "from the bottom of my heart" for over-ruling Jose Mourinho and sanctioning his £10m transfer to Arsenal.
Petr CECH made a personal point yesterday of thanking Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich "from the bottom of my heart" for over-ruling Jose Mourinho and sanctioning his £10m transfer to Arsenal.
Cech - regarded by both Mourinho and Arsene Wenger as one of the best in the world - will now report for pre-season training next Monday.
He has signed a four-year deal worth more than £100,000 a week and his first match should be the Community Shield against Chelsea on August 2.
"Life doesn't always turn out the way you think it will," Cech said in an open letter yesterday to the Chelsea fans. "I thought this would never happen but it is time for me to say goodbye to Chelsea - the club in which I thought I'd hang my gloves and boots one day and finish my career."
In 11 successful years at Chelsea, Cech was part of 13 trophy-winning teams but fell behind Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in Mourinho's pecking order last summer.
"I am not at the stage of my career where I want to be on the bench," Cech said.
"That's why I spoke to Mr Abramovich about me staying in the Premier League and I'd like to thank him from the bottom of my heart for his support."
Mourinho wants to sign Asmir Begovic as Cech's replacement as back-up to Courtois, but Stoke have rejected Chelsea's opening offer of £6m. They are holding out for more than £8m and also want to take a player on loan.
Begovic could double his wages at Chelsea - and could expect to play in the domestic cup competitions - but he may wait to see if Manchester United want to make him their replacement if David de Gea joins Real Madrid.
Cech's arrival will have ramifications at Arsenal. Wojciech Szczesny has made it clear that he wants to stay, but Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina is likely to feel rather less enthusiastic.
Ospina had replaced Szczesny as Arsenal's No 1 'keeper last season and is expected to join Fenerbahce.
Chelsea goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon may now follow Cech to Arsenal.
Cech was also wanted by Paris St Germain and, although he said that it had been his "hardest" ever decision, became convinced by Arsenal after speaking with Wenger.
"Once I spoke to Arsene Wenger about the ambitions and motivations this club has, my decision was clear because I wanted to be a part of it," he said.
"I believe I will find a team that wants to be successful and wants to challenge the best in Europe. I hope that I can bring something a little extra to the team." (© Daily Telegraph, London)