Asmir Begovic
Begovic kept 12 clean sheets this season.

Stoke City chairman Peter Coates says the club will not stand in the way of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic should he wish to join a big club this summer.

The Bosnian has been linked with moves to both Arsenal and Liverpool after an impressive season in The Potters goal this season, keeping 12 clean sheets as Stoke finished 13<sup>th.

Following comments from Begovic eluding to clinching a move to Liverpool, which were later denied by Stoke, Coates has repeated the club's intention to hold on to their prized asset.

"Asmir is a super professional," he said. "We like him very much. He is a top, top goalkeeper. I think he is as good as anybody in the Premier League.

"But he is also ambitious. If top clubs come for your players, I do not think you can deny them the opportunity. That is my view.

"But it would depend very much on the money being right. We are not looking to sell him. We are not expecting to sell him. We expect him to be our goalkeeper next season."

While Victor Valdes' intent to remain at Barcelona is likely to quell speculation regarding Pepe Reina's future at Liverpool, and thus rumours that Begovic may be a contender to replace the Spaniard, Arsenal are likely to remain contenders for his signature.

Due to form and fitness, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was forced into juggling between Wojciech Szczesny, Vito Mannone and Lukasz Fabianski in goal this season, and the Frenchman is likely to be to add greater continuity to the role ahead of the new term.

Begovic's opportunities are likely to be limited next season following the January signing of Jack Butland from Birmingham City, and the attraction of Champions League football with Arsenal may be too good to turn down should The Gunners firm up their interest.

Alternatively, Liverpool's lack of European football is offset by the encouraging project led by manager Brendan Rodgers, who took the Anfield club to seventh in the Premier League while he might be first choice, Begovic might be tempted by the proposition of joining an ambitious project on Merseyside.