4 Teams That Will Be in the Running for Stoke Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentMarch 27, 2013

4 Teams That Will Be in the Running for Stoke Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic

0 of 5

    Stoke City’s Asmir Begovic is currently the English Premier League’s most sought-after goalkeeper with Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool reportedly interested in signing the Bosnian international.

    If you’re not aware of Asmir, don’t worry. This article will profile him and statistically compare him to other Premier League keepers.

    Feel free to comment below with your thoughts.

Who Is Asmir Begovic?

1 of 5

    Asmir Begovic, GK, 6'5" (1.96 m), 183 lbs (83 kg), Age: 25

    At just 17 years of age, he was the youngest goalkeeper in Dale Mitchell's Under-20 Canadian squad for the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship.

    He watched and learned from Josh Wagenaar, who was Canada's undisputed No. 1 throughout the tournament.

    Two years later, Begovic started all three of Canada's FIFA U-20 World Cup [1] games, but didn't receive a mention as an "outstanding player" by FIFA's technical study group [2].

    Despite ruling out the idea of representing his country of birth (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Asmir did a 180 and bailed on Canada in 2009. Several months earlier, highly rated American youth international Neven Subotić pledged his allegiance to Serbia.

    Aided by a dogged and rugged back line, Begovic has risen to elite status for Stoke City since signing from Portsmouth for £3.25 million.

     

     

    [1] Formerly known as the FIFA World Youth Championship.

    [2] Goalkeepers who were recognised as outstanding players by FIFA: Cristopher Toselli (Chile); Joseph Gómez (Gambia); Hamad Al-Asmar (Jordan); Jacob Spoonley (New Zealand); and Luis Mejía (Panama) [3];    

    [3] On top of the world at 16.

    Looking back, Luis peaked too early, just like Bruno Gama, Lubos Kalouda and Maxi Moralez—all four seemingly destined to be world-class players.

Manchester United

2 of 5

    Unless Asmir Begovic wants to be a No. 2, why would he even entertain the idea of going to Manchester United?

    He isn't on the same level as David de Gea, whose save percentage numbers (81.9 to Begovic's 72.9) and shots saved per goal conceded numbers (3.9 to Begovic's 2.5) are substantially better.

    Being three years younger than Asmir, David's potential is also higher, so it would be foolhardy for the Bosnian to think he could realistically oust DDG.

    United reportedly sent scouts to watch Begovic versus Greece (via James Dickenson at The Express), but it's not inconceivable that Sir Alex Ferguson wanted more information on the likes of Ognjen Vranjes, Adnan Zahirović and Sokratis Papastathopoulos. 

Chelsea

3 of 5

    Yes, Chelsea could do with better backups than Henrique Hilário and Ross Turnbull, considering the Blues once had Carlo Cudicini warming the benches.

    TribalFootball.com claims CFC are one of the many clubs in the running to sign Asmir Begović.

    If Thibaut Courtois is sold, buying Begović makes sense, but does the Bosnian want to be a No. 2? No.

    Petr Cech's save percentage (78.7 to Begovic's 72.9) and shots saved per goal conceded (3.6 to Begovic's 2.5) suggest Asmir should look elsewhere. 

Arsenal

4 of 5

    Wojciech Szczęsny's loss of form is a concern, but he's going through the same downturn David de Gea experienced last season.

    How's DDG looking now? Very good. 

    Szczęsny has world-class attributes. If he can cut out the Jens Lehmann-like lapses in concentration, the Pole will be one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

    Arsène Wenger is stubborn to a fault in sticking with his players—how many chances did Manuel Almunia receive?

    Now Wenger wants to bring in Asmir Begović to replace Wojciech (per Paul Smith at Mirror Football)?

    That doesn't sound like Arsène at all.

Liverpool

5 of 5

    Jaimie Kanwar at Liverpool-Kop.com put forward the idea of Begovic replacing Pepe Reina.

    Let's not kid ourselves—most keepers playing for a notable European club would be fit to displace an error-prone, inconsistent and devoid-of-form Reina.

    Asmir would easily be the No. 1 starter for the Reds and he'll finally get the chance to play at a prestigious club.

     

    League Only Saves SPGC S%
    Asmir Begovic 86 2.5
    72.9
    Pepe Reina 57 1.9 66.3

     

    SPGC = saves per goal conceded; S% = save percentage

     

    Are there better options than Begovic? Yes.

    Kevin Trapp from Eintracht Frankfurt is having a stellar season.

    While Marc-André ter Stegen of Borussia Mönchengladbach hasn't replicated last season's form, he has enormous upside as well. In fact, he could be the closest thing to Oliver Kahn.

     

    Please Read Why the Blaugrana Shouldn't Break the Bank for Neymar

    Follow me on Twitter

    Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, EPL Index, Fox Soccer and Squawka.com.