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THE BRIDGE BECKONS FOR BEGOVIC!

After letting go of custodian Petr Cech to their London rivals Arsenal, Chelsea have set eyes on Stoke City goalkeeper As...



After letting go of custodian Petr Cech to their London rivals Arsenal, Chelsea have set eyes on Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. Begovic landed at Stoke from Portsmouth in 2010 at an estimated fee of 3.25 million pounds and has been an outstanding performer for the Stoke-on-Trent outfit. His performance has seen him attract the attention of many top clubs in the English top tier during his stay at Stoke. The Blues have however had an initial bid said to be in the range of six million pounds rejected by the Potters. Begovic is reportedly hungry to join a top club team though he is likely to play second fiddle to former Atletico Madrid custodian Thibaut Courtois.

The 28-year-old has been subject to transfer speculation over a couple of seasons, but this summer seems to be his most probable time of departure. However, Stoke is adamant that their 8 million pound valuation for the Bosnian must be met. It is said that talks between the West London club and Stoke took place on Monday and will continue this week with the current champions upbeat that a deal will be struck before the weekend. Queens Park Rangers veteran goalkeeper Robert Green had earlier on been taunted as a possible replacement for Petr Cech, who completed his 10-million-pound switch to Arsenal on Monday on a four-year contract.

The possibility of a Chelsea player moving to Stoke on loan looks likely to happen though Nigerian international Victor Moses is unwilling to act as the bait that will land Begovic. He is reportedly reluctant to return to the club where he spent the whole of last season. Though Begovic is viewed as having the ability to compete for the first slot in Chelsea’s squad, punditry consensus has it that he will play understudy to Belgian number one Courtois.

If signed, Chelsea will have to some point filled the void left by 33-year-old Cech and will have a decent cover up for the vital position. Begovic made thirty five appearances for Stoke last season, keeping seven clean sheets during the period. The Bosnia-Herzegovina international’s contract is entering its final year, and there is no possible sign of a new deal being agreed any time soon. After months of negotiation with Stoke, contract negotiations seem to have stalled, leaving a host of clubs monitoring the situation of his availability. Such developments have hence made Begovic’s future a subject of conjecture in recent time.

Aston Villa has also had their bid for the in-demand shot stopper rejected. The Midlands team is believed to have tabled a bid that is way below Stoke’s valuation for the goalkeeper. The rejection has therefore prompted Chelsea to throw their hat into the ring, hoping to convince him to complete a move to West London.

Despite having the experience representing Bosnia in major international tournaments such as the world cup, Begovic will have to put his reservations about starting on the bench for Chelsea on hold. The FIFA world cup also saw one of the finest custodians in Courtois, a figure likely to tower above Begovic at Stamford Bridge. With Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich having the ability to splash on players of the highest pedigree, an improved offer for Begovic could prove too irresistible an offer for the Potters.

If Begovic’s future happens to be at Stamford Bridge, the interesting turn of events will leave two of last year’s world cup goalkeepers engage in a battle for Jose Mourinho’s first team. Though less likely to evoke the thrill of the FIFA world cup’s magnitude, the battle for the first slot will be worth savouring.

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