Stoke keeper Asmir Begović is in trouble with his club after refusing to play in their second-round Carling Cup tie over Shrewsbury. Chelsea are reported to be chasing Begović, and his head seems to have been turned by the prospect of a move to the champions.
Begović is expected to meet with Tony Pulis and Stoke’s chief executive, Tony Scholes, and is looking at a fine and a warning regarding his future conduct. Pulis was less than pleased with the Bosnian keeper, stating on Tuesday:
“He said this morning he did not want to play. I find that very disappointing. We pay his wages and he has a responsibility to the club. We have a lot of supporters who idolise this club and love it. We have a management team and people around who have been here a long time. They respect the club and like it as much as the supporters do. To do what he has done is totally disrespectful.”
Begović, however, refutes this claim, and believes that rather than an outright refusal to play, he told Pulis that his head was not in the right place following the speculation regarding his future.
Pulis has stated that despite the conflict between Stoke and Begović, they will not be giving him away, and expect their valuation for the player to be met. Chelsea are understood to have upped their bid today to £4.5million. Despite being born in what is now Bosnia-Herzegovina, Begović was brought through the youth system at Portsmouth, and as such would provide a much-needed homegrown player for Chelsea (although they also have English keeper Ross Turnbull).
With this recent clash with the management, it’s difficult to see Begović staying at Stoke before the transfer window closes on Tuesday. It is, ultimately, a choice between sitting on the bench at Stoke and sitting on the bench at Chelsea, and whilst he might pick up a bigger wage packet at Chelsea, first-team opportunities are likely to be minimal with competition from Petr Cech and Turnbull.
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