EXCLUSIVE | By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Arsenal fear Chelsea will pull the plug on their move for Petr Cech, Football Insider sources understand.
The FA Cup holders have agreed personal terms with Cech after being given permission by Chelsea to hold talks with the goalkeeper.
The Gunners are confident that Cech wants to become an Arsenal player but are wary that their London rivals will eventually refuse to grant him the move.
Sources have told Football Insider that officials at Emirates Stadium do not trust their counterparts in west London following Demba Ba’s aborted move two summers ago, when Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho pulled the plug at the eleventh hour due to his reluctance to strengthen a team he regarded as a title rival.
Nevertheless, Cech’s camp are confident that Chelsea will allow their long-serving goalkeeper to decide his future out of respect for his considerable achievements during his 11 years at Stamford Bridge, in which he has won every major honour.
Jose Mourinho has claimed that he is powerless to stand in the way of the Czech international moving to north London, with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich believed to have told the goalkeeper he can choose his destination.
Arsenal have opened discussions with Chelsea in what would be a rare deal between the rivals although the north Londoners face growing competition to land Cech from Manchester United, who have identified the 33-year-old as a possible replacement for David de Gea, who is expected to move to Real Madrid this summer.
The Gunners are favourites to sign Cech but United’s interest could turn his head even though personal terms have been agreed and it is understood that the Czech international is settled in London with his family and keen to remain in the capital.
Football Insider understands that Arsenal and Cech’s representatives have agreed the terms of a three-year contract worth more than £100,000-a-week.
The Gunners are now waiting on the green light from their west London rivals to table a formal bid.
Cech has 12 months remaining on his contract but has spent most of the season on the sidelines after losing his No1 status to Thibaut Courtois.
Arsene Wenger is keen to pull off one of the headline signings of the summer amid doubts over the future of Wojciech Szczesny and current first choice David Ospina’s long-term ability to be the No1.
As revealed by Football Insider, Szczesny wants to quit Emirates Stadium in search of regular first-team football after losing his Premier League spot to Ospina at the turn of the year.
Liverpool have placed Szczesny on their transfer shortlist as they step up plans to sign a senior goalkeeper who can compete with Simon Mignolet for the No1 spot at Anfield.