Petr Cech is an outstanding goalkeeper. No one can sensibly argue otherwise. And yet it is now being suggested he could be sold this summer as Chelsea prepare to give Thibaut Courtois the first-team role his talent deserves.
The 22-year-old Belgium international’s emergence is such that the Blues can surely no longer ignore him. After all, three years at Atletico Madrid have seen him become one of the very best goalkeepers around. The trouble is, Chelsea already have one of those in Cech.
At 32, the current Chelsea number one could realistically play for close to another decade. But no matter how great he undeniably is, it appears to be a case of being not quite great enough.
Usually when players are dropped or sold it is because they are not performing. But in the case of Cech he is simply the victim of bad-timing, with Courtois blossoming at such a rate that it is impossible for Jose Mourinho to ignore his claim for a starting-berth any longer.
If the Blues continue to send him on loan – or bring him back only to sit him on the bench – they risk losing a player who looks destined to go down as one of the very best the game has seen. And while Mourinho likes to take risks, that would be one too far.
Cech made 46 appearances for Chelsea last season, keeping an impressive 22 clean-sheets in that time.
In comparison, Courtois made 56 appearances for Atletico and kept 28 clean-sheets. But he also helped his side to the La Liga title and a heart-breaking Champions League final against Real Madrid.
You sense that if Courtois does return to Chelsea next season it will be a case of the club not being big enough for both he and Cech; which will be a shame for the Blues’ veteran. He has plenty more to give, but may simply be a great player usurped by an even greater one.