Stoke goalkeeper 'flattered' by Manchester City interest

Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has admitted he was ‘flattered’ by interest from Manchester City.

The Stoke stopper had been linked with Manchester rivals City and United in recent months and with the dip in form of City and England No.1 Joe Hart at the start of the season, rumours emerged that the Bosnia and Herzegovina international could join Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

The 26-year-old had been linked with Manchester United last summer as well as Arsenal but proposed moves never came to fruition and he remained at the Britannia where he has been a key player for the last four years since his arrival from Portsmouth in 2010.

“It’s very flattering to be linked with Manchester City and it gives me more motivation to do well and keep pushing on,” he explained.

He continued to speak about the prospect of surviving the relegation battle Stoke now find themselves in under manager Mark Hughes to came in to replace Tony Pulis earlier on this term. Stoke are currently just three points of the drop zone with just seven points separating no less than eight teams at the bottom of the Premier League table.

Meanwhile, at the other end, City sit in third place, three points off leaders Chelsea with a game in hand still to play. Joe Hart has returned to the starting XI in recent months and City have conceded 27 goals so far this term to Stoke’s 41 goals against. Begovic has, however, kept six clean sheets in the league this term and has averaged 2.33 saves per game, with a 94% claim success rate to Hart’s 1.72 saves per game and 94% claim success rate. The pair have kept the same number of clean sheets this term whilst City backup keeper Costel Pantilimon’s three clean sheets.

Begovic’s contract with Stoke runs until 2016 but City assistant coach David Platt recently stated that Begovic had been a top target for former City boss Roberto Mancini prior to his dismissal at the end of last term.

“Obviously it’s a little bit irrelevant now I think, but it was really nice to hear positive things from great people like David Platt,” Begovic added.

image: © ronnie macdonald

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