26 June 2015

From Seaman to Čech, Arsenal finally have a world-class keeper again...

Our guest-writer for today is Ryan Worthy, a university student majoring in broadcast journalism who will be studying at Oxford this fall. In his own words, he's done "some pretty stupid things" to support Arsenal. Haven't we all. At any rate, here's his take on the slowly unfolding Čech-saga. Take it way, Ryan!

While it appears Arsenal have been "one or two days away" from officially signing Petr Čech for the last two weeks, a deal for one of the world's best goalkeepers in the world seems to be all but finished. Pundits, former players, journalists, and common logic are all in agreement that signing the Chelsea keeper is a massive statement for Arsenal's genuine title challenge next season. But why? Most of the media claims that Arsenal are signing a world-class goalkeeper, something the club has arguably not had since Jens Lehmann (or, more notably, David Seaman). Although this is a true declaration, the signing of Čech really instills the one intangible quality that has been absent for far too long: he is a winner.

Prior to the end of the 2013 summer transfer-window, Arsenal had become labeled a "selling" club. After losing the Champions League Final in 2006 (sorry for opening an old wound), Arsenal was notoriously associated for losing its best players. Pirès, Campbell, Cole, Henry, Ljungberg, Touré, Nasri, Van Persie, Fabregas, etc etc (the list is so long that the avaible remaining characters to write with, combined with the nostalgically sad feelings those names bring make it not worth continuing) were being sold every summer. While the players' qualities were missed, the true deficit was that no monetary figure could replace their winning mentality. Every great player that was sold by Arsenal had either won in their tenure at the club or immediately won in their new colors. Arsenal wasn't losing only because of the lack quality—they were losing because there weren't any leaders and winners.

Fast-forward to June 2015. The selling club that was trophy-less for almost a decade is a thing of the past. Additions of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sánchez have not just provided world class talent but winning mentalities. Surely it's not a coincidence that Arsenal win consecutive FA Cups after signing players in the peak of their careers who come from clubs where winning is the only thing. While it pains me to say this, Chelsea have been a far more successful club over the last decade. But that's where the addition of Čech is so invaluable: he is a four-time Premier League and FA Cup champion, coupled with three League Cup titles and the almighty Champions League Winner's medal, Arsenal, in some ways, have outdone themselves. While Alexis and Özil are worth their weight in gold for their skill and statistics, Čech's leadership is what this club has been lacking since the departure of Patrick Vieira.

 So yes, I do agree with journalists and pundits. Petr Čech is a world-class player that will upgrade Arsenal in the goalkeeping position and win x or y many more points than Szczęsny or Ospina could. But what will truly be added to Arsenal's squad is 11 domestic and 2 European titles and the mentality that leads to more. Now that is the definition of a winner.

Well-said, Ryan, and congratulations to you for avoiding any cringey puns on Čech's name. (and congratulations to me for doing the same with Worthy). Give Ryan a a follow on Twitter at @r_Worthy32 and share your reactions in the comments-section below!