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European champions Chelsea are believed to be considering a last-minute move for Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. The Daily Mail reports the 25-year-old Bosnian international is viewed as the perfect back-up and potential replacement for present No 1, Petr Cech.
The Blues do have highly-rated Thibaut Courtois on the books. The 20-year-old is presently on loan to Spanish side Atletico Madrid and has impressed during his time at the Vicente Calderon. However, Roman Abramovich may use the Belgian as a bargaining chip in his pursuit of Atletico's in-demand Colombian forward, Radamel Falcao.
Begovic has been quoted as saying he is unlikely to leave the Britannia Stadium in this transfer window.
"As far as I know (I am staying at Stoke) yes," he told Sky Sports, adding, "I'm in for training today so I'm looking forward to staying and looking forward to the game at the weekend. I don't see anything happening now. I think that time's passed. I'm just concentrating on what I need to do here."
Begovic has also attracted attention from Manchester United, with nine clean sheets from 24 league games. In addition, Stoke have one of the best defensive records this season, with only Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton and Swansea City having conceded fewer goals.
United have Spaniard David De Gea and Dane Anders Lindegaard at the club but neither has truly impressed Sir Alex Ferguson. And De Gea may be the one to leave Old Trafford, with The Sun reporting Spanish champions Real Madrid were interested. In addition, the fact De Gea is believed to be homesick could also help push through a return to Spain.
An earlier Daily Mail report states Begovic has told friends he would prefer joining Old Trafford, where he is more likely to have first team football, particularly if De Gea has moved on by then. However, any bid for the goalkeeper will likely have to be a sizeable one (manager Tony Pulis has valued his No 1 at £15m) since he is contracted to the club until 2016.