Stoke City goalkeeper attracting strong attention from abroad.
Atletico Madrid and Napoli could be the main contenders for the signing of Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic next summer as the pair both chase permanent additions between the posts, CaughtOffside understands.
The two teams are currently relying on loan stars Thibaut Courtois and Pepe Reina as their respective no.1s, and are planning for life without the players as they return to their parent clubs or move elsewhere next season.
Courtois, on loan at Atletico from Chelsea, is a highly-rated youngster and could be set to first choice at Stamford Bridge next season under Jose Mourinho, who is willing to consider replacing the long-serving Petr Cech.
In something of a merry-go-round of goaleekper transfers, this has seen Cech linked with a move to Barcelona, who are also thought to be targeting Napoli’s Reina, who is unlikely to return to Liverpool after spending this season on loan with Napoli.
Begovic, 26, is a Bosnian international, and is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, having attracted attention from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City during the summer. In the end he made a surprise stay at the Britannia Stadium despite the club seeming to sign young goalkeeping prospect Jack Butland as a potential replacement, and it is still thought that the Potters will listen to offers for Begovic with Butland waiting in the wings to take his place at the club.
This could spark offers of around £15m from both Atletico and Napoli, as neither appear confident of securing permanent moves for Courtois and Reina, though it is not yet clear if other clubs will join the chase for the Stoke star again.
Arsenal could renew their interest in him depending on the form of current first-choice Wojciech Szczesny, as well as the future of Emiliano Viviano, who has been brought in as a backup for this season.
Manchester City, meanwhile, will also wait it out to see if Joe Hart can regain his best form, after a worrying recent dip. Real Madrid’s unsettled ‘keeper Iker Casillas has also been linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium as a potential replacement for the under-performing England international.
Atletico or Napoli will be attractive prospects for Begovic though, as both clubs have been on the up in recent times in their respective leagues, with Napoli in particular looking in good shape this season under new manager Rafael Benitez, sitting joint top of Serie A after four wins from their first four games.
Both sides are ready to bring in big names as well, having made a lot of money from the high-profile sales of Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani this summer.