(AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
(AP) -- Petr Cech ended his trophy-filled, 11-year stay at Chelsea by signing for Premier League rival Arsenal on Monday, with the goalkeeper reluctantly deciding to leave the English champions after losing his starting place.
In another major coup in the transfer market, Arsenal bought the 33-year-old Cech for a reported fee about 11 million pounds ($17.3 million) after Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich granted the Czech Republic international the chance to revive his career while staying in the Premier League.
"I thought this would never happen," Cech said in an open letter to Chelsea fans, "but it is time for me to say goodbye to Chelsea. The club I have lived every single minute for since joining in July 2004, the club in which I thought I'd hang my gloves and boots one day and finish my career.