Football

Asmir Begovic: I want to play at the highest level

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Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has given the clearest indication yet that this could be his last season at the Britannia Stadium after admitting that with 12 months remaining on his current contract that his future is uncertain.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina international also outlined his desire to play at the highest level possible, intimating that if a Champions League club came in for him this summer then he might well look to leave the Potters when the transfer window reopens.

According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United and Arsenal could both be on the lookout for new custodians and the 27-year-old is probably pretty high on their respective wish lists ahead of the new campaign.

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Louis van Gaal is busy making plans for the prospective departure of David de Gea at Old Trafford, with Begovic identified as a possible replacement for the Red Devils' recently crowned Player of the Year.

With Real Madrid reportedly keen to recruit the Spain international during the summer, the veteran Dutch coach must move quickly to bring in another high-profile stopper at the Theatre of Dreams.

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Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, is yet to be fully convinced about the credentials of current No.1 David Ospina. The Colombian has performed okay since replacing Wojciech Szczesny between the sticks at the Emirates Stadium, but the jury is still out whether or not he has what it takes to be a permanently reliable fixture in the Gunners line-up for years to come.

Talks are expected with veteran Chelsea keeper Petr Cech, and should he depart Stamford Bridge then Jose Mourinho will need to bring in another back-up to Thibaut Courtois in west London.

It's unclear whether Begovic would settle for a bit-part role with the Blues, but judging by his latest comments he's seriously considering a move away from Stoke City at the end of the season.

"My future? I couldn't tell you 100 percent at the moment," he explained. "But I'm at a certain stage of my career, I'll be 28 this summer. I've played a lot of games and developed in the last five years at this club.

"We will sit down after the season ends and see where we want to take things going forward. I have a lot of respect for the manager, what he has done over the last couple of years has been great.

"But it's about trying to be ambitious as possible, to win and compete for as much as possible because I'm going to be 28, not 20. I want to be part of a successful team and achieve things.

"I want to have some special things to look back on when I finish football. So that's the situation; we will have an honest discussion and I'll be very clear with my opinion and we'll see what the options are on both sides."

Pressed for more information on what scenario would prompt him to throw the towel in at Stoke, the former Portsmouth ace suggested that the opportunity to participate in Europe's elite club competition could be too good to ignore.

"Of course [I'd want to play in the Champions League], any player as ambitious as myself wants to play at the highest level," he added. "I've played in the Europa League, the World Cup and World Cup qualifiers.

"I know the club are ambitious and trying to move forward trying to get into European competition so if the plans are right then hopefully we can get something in place there, that would be awesome.

"But like anyone I'd love to play at the highest level. It's what I've worked so long and hard to do, so somehow if that happens - I will be honest with the club and cross the bridge when we get there."

Manchester United fans: Would Asmir Begovic be a good replacement signing for David de Gea this summer? Share your thoughts in the comment box below...

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Topics:
Football
Stoke City
Premier League
Arsenal
Asmir Begovic
Manchester United

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