EXCLUSIVE | By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Arsenal have been given permission by Chelsea to discuss terms with Petr Cech, Football Insider sources understand.
The Gunners have opened talks with Premier League champions about signing the goalkeeper in a rare deal between the London rivals.
Football Insider understands that Chelsea have now agreed to grant their long-serving goalkeeper permission to discuss terms with Arsenal.
There is a growing possibility that Cech will join Arsenal this summer after Jose Mourinho admitted that he is powerless to stand in the way of the Czech international moving to north London.
There is a clear sense that Chelsea will allow the 32-year-old 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.
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.
Chelsea have drawn up a shortlist of goalkeepers to take on the No2 role next season, which it is understood is headed by on-loan Fulham goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
Arsenal are a tempting option for Cech, who is settled in London and wants to join a club who can compete for trophies.
There is also strong interest from other Premier League clubs and across Europe, including from Paris Saint-Germain and Besiktas.
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.
Manchester United are also watching developments, as the likelihood is growing that David de Gea will leave Old Trafford to join Real Madrid this summer.
Cech’s agent, Viktor Kolar, confirmed earlier this week the interest of Arsenal and admits the Czech Republic international’s wants to leave in search of more regular games.
Kolar said: “Arsenal, United and PSG are all top clubs. And Petr would like to join one of them – definitely.”