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On Wednesday, Asmir Begovic was quoted as saying that he had agreed a deal in the summer to become Manchester City's new goalkeeper—before Roberto Mancini was dismissed and replaced by Manuel Pellegrini.
As relayed by the Daily Star, Begovic told a Bosnian newspaper:
As players we are the last to find out things. Probably our agents and club officials find out first without talking to us, then at the latter stage of negotiations they will tell us.
As for Manchester City, when Mancini was on the bench, we were very close to an agreement.
The transfer was not realised due to several reasons, but the main one was the departure of the Italian manager.
This should not have come as a huge surprise to Man City or Stoke fans, as Mancini's former assistant David Platt had previously revealed something similar. Speaking as a pundit on Al Jazeera at the start of the season, he said, "If Mancini and I were still at Man City this year Joe Hart wouldn't be there. We made a decision to sign Asmir Begovic."
Of course, Hart's place is once again under extreme pressure—with Pellegrini expected in many quarters to pursue another shot-stopper in the January transfer window.
However, it seems Begovic is not top of his wish list, with Real Madrid's Iker Casillas, Barcelona's Victor Valdes and Malaga's Willy Caballero more commonly linked.
That may just be misdirection, however. Begovic has continued to be an impressive Premier League goalkeeper this season, so it seems unlikely that City would rule out a deal for him entirely.
Believability Meter: Medium
It is not a leap of faith to imagine that Mancini had identified Begovic as his next goalkeeper, so in that regard the claims are quite likely to be based in some truth. But it seems Pellegrini is looking elsewhere for his next No. 1.