Arsène Wenger fears losing Schneiderlin as Cech move nears completion

Manchester United set to gazump Londoners in race for France international

Petr Cech owes his move to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who has allowed him to join the club of his choosing, even a rival. Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Petr Cech owes his move to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who has allowed him to join the club of his choosing, even a rival. Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

 
Petr CechChelseaMorgan Schneiderlin

Arsène Wenger has wanted to upgrade his squad in two principle areas – goalkeeper and defensive midfield – and Cech’s capture ticks the first of those boxes. The 33-year-old’s arrival represents something of a coup for the Arsenal manager and not only because of the goalkeeper’s experience and enduring quality. José Mourinho had been fiercely opposed to selling Cech at all, let alone to a Premier League rival.

Consistent level

Arsenal, though, are worried that any bid they might make for Schneiderlin would be trumped by United, who would also be able to offer him higher wages. United have looked at Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger and they are currently in the driving seat for Schneiderlin, who is determined to move to a club that is in the Champions League.

He wanted to join Tottenham Hotspur last summer only for Southampton to block the move, much to his irritation. Few people at Southampton expect him to stay this time, and a bid of around £25 million would be difficult to turn down.

Mauricio Pochettino, who worked with Schneiderlin at Southampton before becoming manager at White Hart Lane in May last year, remains a big admirer but Spurs claim that they have not moved for the 25-year-old this summer.

Sixth player

He owes his move to Arsenal to Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea owner, who has allowed him to join the club of his choosing, even a rival – a rare and special privilege.

Abramovich has allowed sentiment to colour his decision. He has built a close relationship with Cech and he is respectful of the service that the player has given to Chelsea. Over 11 years at the club, Cech has won every major honour, including four league titles and the Champions League in 2012.

Cech’s arrival at Arsenal, which means that he will not have to uproot his family from London, could see David Ospina squeezed out. The Colombia international only joined Arsenal from Nice last summer for £3 million. The Turkish club, Fenerbahce, are in talks over signing him.

Japan striker Shinji Okazaki is poised to join Leicester City from Bundesliga club Mainz 05 on a four-year deal subject to a work permit and clearance from Fifa. The fee for the 29-year-old, who is prolific in front of goal, is undisclosed but German media reports said it was just over €10 million. Guardian Service

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