Cape Town - New Arsenal signing Petr Cech has revealed how close he was to joining Arsenal more than a decade ago.
The Czech Republic goalkeeper achieved legendary status at Chelsea by winning 13 major trophies during an 11-year spell at Stamford Bridge. But he might have spent that time in north London had things turned out differently.
“There was a chance before I went to France [to join Rennes] that I could sign for Arsenal but I was only 18 or 19 and at that time Czech Republic were not in the European Union,” Cech told Arsenal Player.
“You needed a work permit and the conditions were to play 75 per cent of the first-team games for the national team, which at the time was impossible for me to get. In the end I went to France because I couldn’t get a work permit.
“I had a few teams who were interested but Arsenal was one of the main ones. I was so excited because of the Premier League and big clubs but unfortunately it was not the time for me to come.
“It was later with Chelsea, and I’m obviously grateful for that, but you can never prepare the ways in your life and you’ll never know where you’ll end up. Here we are and I hope that I can replicate all I’ve managed to achieve in the past decade.
“If I could have got the permission, maybe my story would have been a completely different story but here we are 10 or more years later, and now we can write the story again.”