City enter chase for Stoke keeper Begovic
Published 17:52 27/08/10 By John Cross
Roberto Mancini has moved in for want-away Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic - opening up an escape route for Shay Given.
Chelsea yesterday backed away from signing Begovic after Stoke boss Tony Pulis’ outspoken attack on clubs trying to unsettle his keeper.
But Begovic, 23, still finds himself in big demand amid a keeper merry-go-round with Manchester City and Fulham having made enquiries and the ex-Portsmouth keeper expects to be on the move before the transfer window shuts.
City boss Mancini is looking at alternatives as Republic of Ireland keeper Given is unhappy after losing his place as No.1 to England’s Joe Hart.
Fulham boss Mark Hughes has made another enquiry to see whether Given is available after the 34-year-old was left out of City’s Europa League tie on Thursday night.
City are reluctant to let Given go and have offered him a five year contract to stay but may be willing to let him go out on loan as a last resort.
However, Fulham have also moved in for Begovic as a back-up plan as they prepare to sell Mark Schwarzer to Arsenal before the deadline closes and fear rookie David Stockdale lacks experience.
Begovic, who only joined Stoke from Portsmouth in January, is a keeper in a hurry and was keen to join Chelsea who were prepared to offer him cup games, a few chances in Europe and the opportunity to be Petr Cech’s deputy.
But Stoke appear to have scared Chelsea off after claiming they do not want to sell but that has not perturbed other clubs.
Fulham seem determined to bring in a new keeper and they have also asked about taking City’s Paraguayan striker Roque Santa Cruz on loan.
Santa Cruz has also interested West Ham. Santa Cruz, 29, finds himself surplus to requirements at City just a year after his £17.5m move from Blackburn and may be loaned out as long as he does not join a direct rival.