Chelsea have signed the goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer on a free transfer to provide competition and cover for the first choice Petr Cech.

The 40-year-old Australia international was released by Fulham at the end of last season, after the arrival of the Holland goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg from Roma and he has now agreed a one-year contract with the Premier League's other west London club.

Chelsea, who have released Ross Turnbull, had attempted to take John Ruddy from Norwich City only to deterred by his price tag. They had offers of £5m and £6m rejected. Norwich wanted closer to £10m.

Schwarzer offers safe hands and vast experience. He arrived in England in 1996, when he joined Bradford from Kaiserslautern, and he went on to spend 11 years at Middlesbrough before joining Fulham as a free agent in 2008.