Real Madrid have become the latest club to express an interest in signing Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic according to numerous reports.
The experienced Bosnia and Herzegovina international has been linked with a host of clubs in the past, including Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United. He was closely monitored by Liverpool and Arsenal. He even commented in the summer, that there would be subsequent formulating of plans, for a switch to Liverpool ,”We haven’t spoken at all yet, but I think we will sit down this week and formulate plans from there”. However, the Merseyside unit signed then Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
It looks like still better things are on their way for Begovic as the Stoke player is now being targeted by La Liga giants Real Madrid. The Potters have consistently demanded a transfer fee in the region of £15m for their shot stopper and the price tag would not be a negative factor for Real Madrid as they want to bring the experienced shot stopper to Bernabeu.
Real Madrid are on the look out for their new No 1 with current Spain internationals Diego Lopez and Iker Casillas both expected to quit at the end of the season. Casillas might be on his way to 2011-12 Premier League champions Manchester City. The speculation regarding the two Los Blancos goalkeepers is endless and one cannot be sure if they will, in fact, quit Real Madrid at the end of the term.
Begovic would certainly be interested if Madrid do indeed come calling. A club of the stature of the Spanish side would be a massive step up from Stoke City. The Bosnian has consistently put on solid performances for his side. He said earlier this season that the interest from top clubs motivates him, “The interest motivates me even more and I would really like to become an even better goalkeeper”.
“There is no truth as far as I’m aware. I’ve not had contact with either club. From my point of view it’s flattering to hear those words – two of the biggest clubs in the world – but I’m just enjoying playing my football here.
“I focus on my job each and every day and make sure I perform every weekend for Stoke City. I’ve enjoyed my time here and don’t want that to change but everyone has ambitions to go as far in the game as possible but there’s been no contact.
“I want to test myself against the best players in the world and to qualify for the World Cup this year with Bosnia is a huge achievement.”
Manager Mark Hughes has also spoken about the matter and has insisted that there hasn’t been any contact between the La Liga leaders and the Potters, but that Begovic is a player who deserves to play in the Champions League:
‘I’m not sure where the story originates from, but certainly there has been no contact between the clubs. But it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a modicum of truth in it — that top teams are looking at Asmir — because he is an outstanding goalkeeper.
‘We are certainly not encouraging it. Asmir is a huge part of what we are trying to do here.We are very fortunate that he is here and contracted to us. In that regard we have a position of strength.
‘But he is an ambitious player and I’m sure he wants at some point to test himself at the highest level possible, in the Champions League.’
THT Verdict – Begovic heading out of Britannia is very likely; to Bernabeu, unlikely
Asmir Begovic is one of the top Premier League shot stoppers and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the player moves away from the club in the summer. In fact, pundits and fans are tipping him for a move to a side that would potentially offer him European football. A move to Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham also looks on the cards.
Real Madrid are also in the hunt for a goalkeeper and are assessing the prospect of Begovic. While it comes as a shock to a lot of people, Begovic has all the credentials to perform at that sort of level. There hasn’t been any contact between the two clubs so it remains to be seen if the La Liga side’s interest is genuine.