Following his high-profile move to Arsenal this week, former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has revealed in the Daily Mail that he could have joined the Gunners 13 years ago, had it not been for work permit complications.
The Emirates outfit made the Czech Republic veteran their first summer signing for £10million on Monday, as announced on the club’s official website, but the goalkeeper could have joined more than a decade ago before eventually ending up at Rennes and then Stamford Bridge.
As a teenager, with his home nation falling outside the boundaries of the European Union at the time, Cech did not meet the criteria to be granted a work permit.
As reported by the Daily Mail, he said: "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. So here we are.”
In his final season at Stamford Bridge, Cech may have struggled for game time. However, this did not prevent him from impressing whenever given the chance. He made seven Premier League appearances for the eventual champions, recording an impressive five clean sheets.
He joins Arsenal having won having spent 11 seasons with the club's fierce London rivals; a period in which he won four Premier League titles and four FA Cups, as well as the Champions League and Europa League in back-to-back campaigns.