Chelsea have confirmed the signing of Bosnian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic from Stoke City.
The 28-year-old has signed a four-year contract with the Blues and becomes the west London outfit’s second summer signing following the arrival of Radamel Falcao earlier this month. Chelsea are understood to have paid £8 million for the 6ft 6in shot-stopper’s services.
It will come as a slight surprise to some fans that Chelsea have handed the number one jersey - vacated by Petr Cech this summer - to Begovic rather than first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. But it’s believed that the latter was content to stick with number 13.
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“I am very happy to be joining Chelsea FC,” Begovic told the club’s official website. “After speaking at length to the manager, I feel like I can develop here and be an important part of this team. I am looking forward to meeting up with the team on Wednesday for the pre-season tour.”
Despite being handed the No. 1 shirt, Begovic is only likely to play for Chelsea when the world-class Courtois is injured, suspended or in need of a rest.
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Begovic replaces Petr Cech
But Jose Mourinho has successfully convinced Begovic - who also expressed his gratitude to everyone associated with Stoke City via an open letter published on his official Twitter account - to come to Stamford Bridge and take the place of the legendary Cech, despite the fact he will lose his status as a first-choice keeper.
Mourinho wanted to keep Cech at Stamford Bridge but was powerless to prevent the Czech Republic international from joining rivals Arsenal after the club’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich granted him permission to sign for the Gunners.
How long will Begovic be content at Chelsea for?
Cech had no desire to spend a second successive season playing second-fiddle to Courtois - but Begovic has accepted the role, potentially in order to earn more money and to win trophies.
Chelsea will start the season as favourites to win the Premier League title and will also be expected to challenge for the FA Cup, the Capital One Cup and the Champions League.
How long Begovic will be prepared to spend watching on from the substitutes bench is, however, another question entirely.
Courtois, at the age of 23, could still be Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper in another 10 years time - and potentially even longer - and there’s a chance that Begovic will feel he is wasting the best years of his career by sitting on the bench.
As part of the deal, Stoke City have signed Chelsea’s highly-rated Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel on a season-long loan deal.
Chelsea fans: are you pleased with the signing of Asmir Begovic? Will he put pressure on Thibaut Courtois next season? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!