Chelsea are reportedly plotting to launch a surprise bid for Stoke City's Asmir Begovic as they prepare to have a backup for Chelsea's injured goalkeeper Petr Cech.
With the Blues' first-choice shot-stopper on the sidelines with a torn calf muscle and the second-choice and third-choice goalie Hilario and Ross Turnbull looking shaky in the pre-season friendlies, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is planning to sign the 23-year-old to add more stability under the goalpost.
Though Ancelotti has kept his faith in Hilario, the Portuguese goalie has been error-prone in the few matches he played. The Blues' third choice Turnbull has also had his share of poor performances in the club's pre-season matches, like when two errors on his part handed his club defeat to Ajax.
Signing the lanky Bosnian might turn out to be a good bargain for Ancelotti as he also fulfills the quota of homegrown players. He had signed for Portsmouth on a youth contract and played for three seasons in England before his 21st birthday, thus fulfilling the requirement to be judged as a homegrown-player. Chelsea are three short of the home-grown players quota and Ancelotti would have to announce a 22-member squad in case no more signings are made.
The Bosnian, who holds a dual citizenship, arrived at Stoke City from Portsmouth for about £3.25m last winter, but has failed to replace Thomas Sorensen as the Potters' first-choice goalie. He spent most of the season on the bench and made only four appearances towards the end when Sorensen was out injured.
Is Begovic better than Hilario?
Begovic has had his share of loan spells when at Portsmouth and has been impressive in almost every outing, showing ample potential to be a star of the future. The 6'6" Bosnian goalkeeper has good reflexes and safe hands and his tall figure also gives him an added advantage during corner kicks or set-pieces. He has also a fearless attitude and jumps at every ball that comes his way to steer it clear of any danger.
Though Hilario has been keeping guard in Cech's absence, he is error prone and does not provide stability under the post. Chelsea cannot afford so frequent errors if they are to challenge for England's or Europe's top honours.
The talented Bosnian might be valued at nearly £4-4.5m and Chelsea should not face a problem in convincing Tony Pulis to part with his second-choice goalie, whilst Hilario may be loaned out to make space for another new signing. Though nothing has yet been confirmed, Begovic could be a good deal for the Blues.