On Tuesday it was revealed that Frank Lampard had included 38 year old retired legend Petr Cech in Chelsea’s 25 man Premier League squad for this season. This shock inclusion surprised many, bemused some and left others puzzled as to why he would need to be added to a squad that already contains 3 shot stoppers.
It is no secret that Chelsea have had their goalkeeping problems in recent seasons. Then-club record signing Kepa has been unable to replicate his strong early form and instead become the subject of heavy scrutiny from rival fans and Chelsea fans alike.
The alternative until recently has been 39 year old Willy Caballero. The Argentine, who is one year older than Petr Cech, has stood in during Cup games and towards the end of the 19/20 season where Kepa’s poor form saw him dropped from the starting lineup. His performances tend to be sporadic, with his years of experience probably more useful on the training ground than on the pitch itself.
Lampard seemingly addressed the aforementioned issues with the acquisition of Edouard Mendy from Rennes late in the summer transfer window. The Senegal International has played 3 games for Chelsea including last nights 0-0 draw with Sevilla. Chelsea fans will be hoping that history will repeat itself as Cech was also signed as a relatively unknown keeper from Rennes. We are yet to see Mendy face a real test of ability, however this weekends Premier League encounter with Manchester United will surely bring the best out of him.
Why has Cech been included in the squad?
The obvious assumption is Chelsea are expecting to lose a keeper in January, with Kepa being the obvious choice for the chop. Its unlikely that backup keeper Caballero will move on mid season and Mendy has already been announced as Chelsea’s first choice keeper by manager Frank Lampard. The club will surely fail to recoup the large majority of the £71 million spent on Kepa when he transferred from Atletico Bilbao in the summer of 2018, however it seems the club will be happy to cut their losses.
If this was to happen, Cech would likely be included as third choice goalkeeper and despite an occasional appearance on the bench, would still be surprised to see him play again. I’m sure all Chelsea fans would agree that it would be a treat to see him in between the posts in an early round FA cup fixture though.
Another take on the matter is that Lampard is sending a message to his goalkeepers, indicating nobody’s place is secure. If this true, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cech as second choice on the bench for a lot of games this season, with the desired effect to motivate Kepa and Caballero to fight for their spots in the team. I would consider this unlikely however stranger things have happened at this football club.
Lampard has already had his say on the matter and has stated that he doesn’t expect Cech to play, but with everything going on at the moment, it doesn’t hurt to be safe. This may simply be the case; Frank has filled the extra numbers up in his squad and has no intention of playing the former Champions League winner. Whilst this makes sense to most football fans, I don’t doubt there will certainly be a few Chelsea supporters who are disappointed.