Manchester United Transfer Rumors: Asmir Begovic Would Give Red Devils Big Boost

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 8, 2013

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Asmir Begovic of Stoke City looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2012, in Stoke-on-Trent, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

The only element missing from English Premier League leaders Manchester United is stability at the goalkeeper position.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson is reportedly determined to address that issue, and one of the primary targets is Stoke City's Asmir Begovic, who would be the ideal candidate to fill the Red Devils' need for stellar net-minding.

According to Alan Nixon of the Daily Mirror, Ferguson is coveting Begovic's services and Liverpool's Pepe Reina, and has asked for United chief executive David Gill to provide him with the cash to do so.

Concerns about current starter David de Gea since he came over from Atletico Madrid during 2011 have not been put to rest. Approximately one and a half years later, he may be out of the job since he has failed to establish himself as the jersey holder over teammate Anders Lindegaard.

The Red Devils are one of the few clubs in world football that can keep up with the firepower of elite squads such as Barcelona FC, but upgrading the goalkeeper is clearly a priority during this January transfer window.

A prior report on Saturday by the Daily Mail's Joe Bernstein indicated that Begovic's £15 million price tag would be too costly for the Red Devils to acquire him. However, now the mindset seems to have changed, with Ferguson focused on finding a solution in the net ahead of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 in February.

That keen emphasis on the Champions League indicates that Ferguson is determined to prove his club can emerge triumphant in the international competition.

The Red Devils have drawn La Liga superpower Real Madrid, who is struggling somewhat this season but does have Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be eager as usual to dominate against his former United club.

An opportunity for Begovic to prove himself on the Champions League stage will be an extreme selling point for Ferguson and the United brass.

Begovic would undoubtedly be tempted to flee for greener pastures after essentially standing on his head for the Potters this season. Stoke City has allowed just 20 goals in 21 EPL fixtures despite sporting one of the league's worst attacks that has only mustered only a goal per match.

Not all of the blame can be thrown on De Gea, because the Red Devils defensive back line has been rather sloppy at times. The talent is there for improvement, though, and the more aggressive, physical style of Begovic in goal would be a wonderful fit for United.

Hailing from a La Liga club, De Gea isn't quite as imposing and physical as Begovic, which has caused him to be hesitant and non-committal at times despite his immense talent.

With 76 EPL appearances under his belt and a formidable challenge presented to him, United would be a great acquisition for Begovic and could be the move both sides need to make to elevate themselves to the next level.

Begovic could become the best goalkeeper in the EPL (if he isn't already), and United could have a better shot at winning their first Champions League trophy since 2008.