Stoke City have identified three Chelsea players they want to take on loan as part of the prospective £10 million deal that will see goalkeeper Asmir Begovic move to Stamford Bridge.
That's according to The Sun, who say Potters boss Mark Hughes is keen to test the Premier League champions' resolve with an ambitious player-plus-cash ultimatum to establish how desperate Jose Mourinho is to sign the Bosnia and Herzegovina international.
The recent sale of Petr Cech to Arsenal means Chelsea are now actively looking for a replacement custodian to provide back-up to current No.1 Thibaut Courtois and the 28-year-old has been identified as the man for the job.
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However, in order to secure Begovic's services Mourinho must be open to letting at least one of his current players leave west London after Stoke revealed they're interest in Victor Moses, Patrick Bamford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Nigeria international Moses spent the 2014/15 campaign on loan at the Britannia Stadium and impressed by contributing four goals in 23 appearances in all competitions, but his temporary stint in the Potteries was cut short by injury.
Bamford spent the previous campaign on loan in the second tier with Middlesbrough and won the Championship Player of the Year award as recognition for his impressive form at the Riverside, while Loftus-Cheek is on the verge of a senior breakthrough at Chelsea and was handed his debut by Mourinho earlier this year.
All three players would certainly strengthen Stoke's squad as Hughes looks to build on last term's impressive ninth place finish, but it remains to be seen how many of them - if any - will actually be allowed to leave the Blues for the entirety of 2015/16.
With just 12 months remaining on his current contract Begovic is expected to leave the club this summer. However, the Staffordshire-based outfit will continue to play hardball in an attempt to get the best deal they possibly can.
Chelsea are hoping to finalise the transfer over the weekend and could speed up negotiations by caving in to the Potters' demands and giving them the player(s) they want.
Chelsea fans: Would you be happy to let Moses, Bamford and Loftus-Cheek leave on loan if it meant signing Asmir Begovic? Share your thoughts below…
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