Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is set to join Belgian side KV Waasland-Beveren on a four-month loan deal, according to The Rebound’s sources in East Flanders.
The move, signed off by new Gunners head coach Unai Emery, comes on the back of a less than impressive display from the Czech against Manchester City on the opening day of the season.
Emery is understood to favour a style of play in which the goalkeeper is heavily involved in the build-up. Summer signing Bernd Leno is believed to be able to do 500 keepie-uppies while Cech, despite nearly 20 years as a professional, remains unconvincing when trying to trap, pass or just generally make contact with the ball using his feet.
Consequently, the scrum-capped captain has made the decision to take drastic steps in order to improve in that regard, and considers the prospect of lining up as a deep-lying playmaker in the Belgian top tier as an ideal opportunity to do so.
“When I heard that Beveren were interested, I leaped at the chance to join them,” said Cech. “I remembered that back when the club was called KSK Beveren, Arsenal used to send a load of lads there on loan and that they picked up Emmanuel Eboue on the cheap from them in 2004. I thought, well, if Emmanuel – and Igors Stepanovs – can get a regular game there, why can’t I?”
Cech’s absence from the first team will open up a starting berth for Leno, or failing that will allow Emery to experiment with other options with the gloves, such as Aaron Ramsey, who was tried up front versus City.
“Yes, well, clearly there is a problem for Petr when the ball is at his feet,” the manager is quoted as saying. “But it is not true that I simply want to get him out of the team because he couldn’t thread a very thin envelope through a very wide letterbox.
“No, I believe he will learn a lot while in Belgium, such as how to complete a ten-yard pass to an unmarked team-mate. As for Aaron, I am always open to trying new things – if he can stick it in top bins, then he can probably feed the ball to our right-back from a goal-kick. Watch this space.”
The Rebound is Paddy Power’s weekly breaking news story that may not actually have happened or be real in any way.