Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has earmarked Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic as an ideal replacement for David de Gea, if his star stopper continues to snub a contract offer worth a reported £140,000-a-week.
That is according to The Sun, who believe that United fear De Gea already has his sights set on replacing Iker Casillas at Real Madrid.
Begovic would certainly be something of a surprise choice, but has been a consistent Premier League performer over the last five years and has just over a year left on his contract at the Britannia Stadium.
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De Gea's snub casting cloud over transfer plans
Van Gaal definitely has a problem on his hands if he can't persuade De Gea to stay put, because the young Spaniard has been magnificent over the last 18 months.
De Gea has almost single-handedly kept United in some matches this season and is now arguably the world's best young keeper, which means Begovic or anyone else for that matter would be seen as a sub-par replacement in all honesty.
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Would Begovic fit the bill?
Begovic is solid stopper with a proven track record in English football, but whether he's superior to United's new number two Victor Valdes is a question Van Gaal must seriously consider.
Valdes arrived at United earlier this year as De Gea's understudy, despite winning virtually every trophy possible in club football during his time at Barcelona.
The Spanish international has recovered from a cruciate ligament injury but is yet to play a single game for United, thanks largely to De Gea's unflappable form.
Van Gaal has big problem to solve
Van Gaal has a series of big question to answer when it comes to his goalkeeping options this summer, which is perhaps why Begovic is on a shortlist of potential signings.
If De Gea won't sign a new deal will he be brave enough to sell United's best player before the final year of his current contract begins?
Can Valdes be persuaded to stay despite not being first choice as things stand? Will the Dutchman seriously turn to Begovic if things don't work out elsewhere? There's definitely major issues for United to work out when it comes to their number one before putting plans in place further up field ahead of next season.
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