Groundbreaking Stoke star could swap Potters for Real Madrid

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The path between Stoke’s Britannia Stadium and the Santiago Bernabeu, where Real Madrid entertain their fans, hasn’t been mapped by too many footballers over the years. But one current Potter could be making that journey this summer.

Asmir Begovic is being eyed by the La Liga outfit as they scout potential replacements for both of their first-team stoppers at the end of the season.

Iker Casillas’ fall from grace as Los Blancos’ sweetheart has been so stark that he’s only made seven appearances all season, with each one coming in the Champions League. Having seen such a lack of game time this term, a continuation of the trend Jose Mourinho started in his final season in Spain, Casillas is sure to seek a more regular gig away from his boyhood club.

The future of Diego Lopez, the 32-year-old former Villarreal keeper who has deposed Casillas from the throne, is also unclear as his performances for Madrid, who are 5/4 to beat Barcelona in the Clasico next time out, have caught the eye of Manchester City and AC Milan.

Such cloudy circumstances in the Madrid net have forced the Spanish giants to seek alternative options and it’s the Bosnian stopper who tops the list.

At 26, Begovic is seen as a high-quality purchase for now and the foreseeable future and has kept seven clean sheets in 25 Stoke games in the Premier League this season.

Having leapfrogged Thomas Sorensen into the number one jersey for the 7/4 top-half finish chances, Begovic has enjoyed a flourishing reputation as a goalkeeper in England, a status that has seemingly not gone unnoticed abroad either.

With Jack Butland ready to fill the 28-capped international’s gloves, Stoke could drive a hard bargain with the cash-happy Spanish side knowing they won’t have to invest any of the suspected £15m asking price into finding a replacement.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.