The Telegraph reports that Arsenal have surged ahead in the race to sign the Bosnian stopper after interest from Manchester United lessened owing to David de Gea's proficiency in front of goal in recent weeks. Begovic can be brought in as a replacement for United's number two, Andres Lindegaard, but it is unlikely that the stopper will be willing to sit on the bench after having an impressive season with Stoke.
Reports suggest that Arsenal have been in contact with Stoke over the prospect of signing Begovic, but have been told that the 25-year-old will be available for no less than £15m. The Potters have already signed Jack Butland in anticipation of Begovic's transfer, but may have to lower their asking price if they drop out of the Premier League. Stoke are currently in 15th position, four points clear of the drop zone, having won only one game since the turn of the year.
Arsenal do have other stopper targets if a move for Begovic fails to pan out, with the Gunners also being linked with six goalkeepers, including Chelsea's Peter Cech. Victor Valdez, who refused to sign a new contract with Barcelona, has emerged as Arsene Wenger's primary target. The Frenchman has asked Arsenal legend Thierry Henry to personally look into the transfer process. The Gunners are also reported to have made an opening bid for Sporting Lisbon goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Steve Gatting on Arsenal v Liverpool
Arsenal Under-21 coach Steve Gatting has praised his side for their performance against Liverpool in an Under-21 game in spite of their 3-2 loss at Anfield. The manager also praised wonderkid Gedion Zelalem who made his Under-21 debut at the age of 16.
"I thought there were lots of positives. It was disappointing to lose but I said to the boys afterwards that they came out of the game with a lot of credit. We were excellent on the ball at times, especially in the second half. If our end product had been better, we might have won the game."
"He came out of it with a lot of credit. He's only 16 and that was the first game he's played for the Club at a competitive level, and what a place to make your debut! He came out of it well. He shows for the ball a lot. He's got a bit of presence on the pitch and he passed it well," Gatting told Arsenal's Official Website.