The Daily Star’s Ian Baker quoted Potters manager Tony Pulis saying the following:
We have to realise where we are as a club. The money situation at the end of the year is just enormous. We wanted to quell all the speculation now and say to everyone concerned that no one will be leaving. This window is a no-go.
The players who have been the subject of the most speculation have been Bergovic and centre-back Ryan Shawcross, with Baker noting that both Liverpool and Manchester United have shown interest.
The transfer window is full of posturing, and it is common for managers to declare players untouchable only to sell them later. But there is a significant amount of motivation for Pulis to stay true to word this winter.
As The Guardian’s Owen Gibson details, new domestic and international television deals will push the Premier Leauge’s revenue to over five billion pounds next year, and every club that avoids relegation this season would stand to share the enormous profit.
Stoke currently sits ninth in the table and the club’s sole motivation this year will be to do everything possible to stay out of the bottom three spots. While the Potters are clearly safe at this point, selling off Begovic, Shawcross or both would be an extremely risky move.
The team's current standing is owed largely to its defensive performances at Britannia Stadium. Stoke has conceded just two goals while playing hosts and has earned 15 of its 23 points at home.
The success at the back has been driven by Begovic’s play between the posts and Shawcross’ steady form in the heart of the defense. Letting go of either player would make the back line significantly more vulnerable.
Liverpool would certainly benefit from adding either of these players, although Begovic would be the more sought-after target due to Brendan Rodgers’ disenchantment with Pepe Reina, as noted by The Daily Mail’s Simon Jones.
But Rodgers is better off finding a replacement elsewhere, as prying Begovic away from Stoke in January would likely take an excessive offer.
Jones tips Birmingham’s Jack Butland and Hannover’s Ron-Robert Zieler as attractive options for the Reds, and either player is a more realistic and sensible target in the upcoming transfer window.
Rodgers should not overspend on Begovic, and considering that this will likely be the only way he will be able to pry the goalkeeper away from Stoke, he’s better off ignoring him as a possibility all together.