Petr Cech has revealed that he could have signed for Arsenal FC in 2002, but, was denied a work permit, so went to Rennes in France instead.
Petr Cech completed his A?10m transfer across London to Arsenal FC, drawing an end to a glittering 11-year career at Chelsea FC.
He signed a four-year contract worth a basic A?100,000 a week as per the Guardian, and has revealed that he could have signed for the Gunners long way back if not for a work permit issue.
“There was a chance before I went to France to join Rennes for me to sign for Arsenal, but I was only 18 or 19 and, at that time, Czech Republic were not in the European Union,” he told the club’s official website.
“You needed a work permit and the conditions were that you had 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.
“Back then, a few teams were interested in me but Arsenal was one of the main ones. I was so excited because of the Premier League and big clubs coming in for me but unfortunately it was not the time for me to come to England.
“My time was later with Chelsea, and I’m obviously grateful for that, but you never know where you’ll end up. Here we are and I hope that I can replicate here everything that I have managed to achieve in the past decade.
“If I could have got my work permit, 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.”
Well, Arsenal FC’s struggles with their goalkeepers post David Seaman era, that was briefly interrupted with Jens Lehmann on board, would have been avoided if not for immigration rules.
Better late than never, though.