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Petr Cech transfer: bookmakers suspend betting

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Is Petr Cech about to move to North London?

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Petr Cech's transfer to Arsenal is seemingly close to completion, after bookmakers Betfair suspended betting on the possible outcome. Jose Mourinho attempted to be difficult by making a bid for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but, let's be real: Arsenal aren't giving up a talented 21-year old for a 33-year old goalkeeper. Stop being boring, Jose, or I'll push you.

So Cech looks as if he is on his way, for either £10m or £11m, depending on who your source is; Roman Abramovich is agreeing to let Cech go where he wants, and Arsenal is his preferred destination, despite the objections of Mourinho, which is quite funny when you think about that for a minute. And with the bookies suspending betting, it looks as if the move is imminent; hence, that is why it is news.

But that is not quite true. Bookmakers have no more information than the rest of us; they get the same news as you and I. The Cech transfer became news; thus, lots of people have bet on it. The more people bet on an outcome, the shorter the odds get, as Betfair comment:

We have suspended betting on Petr Cech to sign for Arsenal after a flood of bets came in on the north London club and punters were willing to back Arsenal at odds as short as 1/10.

For Betfair, it is no longer worthwhile to have a bet open that has odds of 1/10, because a) people will put smaller amounts because it looks a safe bet and b) there's a much higher chance that Betfair will have to pay out. So even if the Cech transfer looks quite likely, this does not mean it's done; it just means that enough people believe it's going to be done that it's no longer profitable for the bookies to offer the bet.