Bournemouth's hopes of completing a January deal for Asmir Begovic look to be floundering with Chelsea having been dealt another blow in their search for an adequate replacement courtesy of Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers' strong stance on the future of Craig Gordon.
Antonio Conte confirmed last week that Chelsea have indeed received a bid for Begovic, although his departure appears to depend on whether or not the club can source another capable understudy for Thibaut Courtois before next week's transfer deadline. While the manager was quick to praise the impact made by veteran third-choice Eduardo since his arrival from Dinamo Zagreb last summer, it is high unlikely that the 34-year-old, yet to make an appearance in English football, will be trusted as a full-time deputy.
Instead, The Telegraph report that the Premier League leaders have drawn up a three-man shortlist of potential candidates consisting of Espanyol's Diego Lopez (on loan from AC Milan), Galatasaray's Fernando Muslera and Gordon.
The latter, who became the most expensive goalkeeper in British history following a £9m switch from Hearts to Sunderland back in 2007 and later took a two-year hiatus while battling a serious knee injury, can be considered as something of a surprise candidate given his importance to Celtic and current contract situation. Rodgers, meanwhile, is adamant that he will not be sold.
"It's a credit to the way the players are performing, there is speculation and people are talking about these clubs," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Record after watching his Scottish Premiership leaders go 22 points clear and also match the celebrated Lisbon Lions' 26-match domestic unbeaten streak with a 1-0 win over St Johnstone on Wednesday night (25 January).
"But Craig is very much part of what I am doing here. He is 34, can go on for a number of years and be a real pillar of this team. Would Chelsea be wasting their time? Yes, of course. We don't want to sell him. His contract is up at the end of the season but the club have the option of another year. Selling Craig's not something we would even consider."
Despite that emphatic dismissal, Sky Sports now claim that Chelsea are now preparing a bid for Gordon. The Blues have already been publicly rebuffed by one of those aforementioned targets this week, with Lopez ruling out any imminent move as he seeks to prolong his loan spell at Espanyol beyond the end of the season.
"It affects me positively," he said of reports linking him to both Chelsea and Liverpool during a recent press conference. "This kind of news is good for me because it's a recognition of my job. But beyond those suppositions I am calm and focus on Espanyol until the 30th of June. Hopefully we can prolong our relationship after that.
"Nothing is going to happen until 30 June and from there AC Milan and Espanyol will have to give a step forward but I have repeated what I want. If Espanyol want me they already know my intentions but they will need to reach an agreement. At times, we are a bit selfish but I am honest and I thank the club because they had confidence in me in a difficult moment."