Jose Mourinho faces a dilemma that most managers don’t experience. Chelsea FC employs two of the best goalkeepers in the world in Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois, but neither will be satisfied sitting on the bench. Who should start in goal for the Blues? The 32-year-old Cech has won a plethora of trophies in his ten-year Chelsea career, but the 22-year-old Courtois has the potential to be the greatest goalkeeper in the world for the next decade or more. It seems as though either answer is the right one, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Before I attempt to answer this question, here is some background information on both keepers.
Cech has been the undisputed number one keeper at Stamford Bridge since 2004. He has won two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three league cups, the 2013 Europa League, and of course the 2012 Champions League trophy. Cech has made 326 Premier League performances for the Blues and led a Chelsea defense that was tops in the league last season.
The Czech international has taken every challenge throughout his career in stride and put his heart and soul into the club. He’s had a new manager almost every year of his Chelsea career, but despite all the changes he has consistently been the rock of a great Chelsea defense. Cech almost died from a poor challenge in 2006 that caused him to need metal plates in his head. (Via Youtube) Cech bounced back incredibly from that tragic day and continued to play at the highest level.
Courtois, the young Belgian, has nowhere near the experience that Cech does, but he’s begun to make his mark on football. In his third year at Atletico Madrid, the 22-year-old keeper won the La Liga title and led his team to the Champions League final. He was also a bright spot on a young Belgian team that made it to the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He’s extremely athletic and plays with the instincts of a veteran goalkeeper.
Simply put, Mourinho must pick between the beloved veteran and the immensely talented youngster. Mourinho has already parted with club legends Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole. He respects his veterans that were at the club during his first stint as manager, but sentiment means little to Mourinho. He will be very practical in his decision, and that is why I think Cech’s days at Chelsea are limited.
Courtois has been on loan for three years, and Chelsea needs to utilize him at Stamford Bridge now before he becomes restless. He has proven that he can be the number one man for the job. Neither of these players would be satisfied being on the bench, and Courtois is equipped for success now and in the future.
Cech has already said that he is “unwilling to be benched.” (Via ESPN FC) He has been the starter for ten years, and he deserves to still be a starting keeper. Cech has hinted at possibly moving to the French giants PSG. This is a move that could work out perfectly for all parties involved. Cech wants to still play football, and Chelsea want to make money off their Czech keeper. PSG would be able to fork out the sum Chelsea wanted, and Cech would still get to compete at a high level.
Chelsea fans will be sad to see Cech go, but I think he will inevitably leave the club in the near future. No one can have a perfect departure from the club like Didier Drogba did, but the club have a chance to give Cech the respect he deserves by not sitting him on the bench. Let Cech leave and give Courtois the nod.
Chelsea will certainly miss Cech, but in ten years the fans will only be thinking of the titles that Courtois brought to Stamford Bridge.