Stoke stopper Asmir Begovic’s stellar season so far is reportedly set to spark yet another transfer tussle between the two Manchester behemoths.
The amount of players these two clubs seem to tug of war over suggests that one throws their hat in the ring in an attempt to prevent their rival landing a transfer target.
With David De Gea’s ability to perform at the very highest level constantly (and often unfairly) under scrutiny, it would appear that Manchester United this time hold the genuine interest in procuring the Bosnian net-minder, with their pastel blue rivals attempting to hi-jack the deal.
Manchester City have no need of a new goalkeeper given that they possess the Premier League’s finest in Joe Hart and, with Begovic heading the top-flight clean sheet charts, Stoke will be expecting an eight-figure fee for his services.
This sounds a touch on the steep side but, basing it on the fact that United paid somewhere in that region for De Gea in the summer of 2011, the Potters would be well within their rights to demand a similar fee for a superior player.
Roberto Mancini has hardly been the most frugal with the Man City coffers – see £7m for Scott Sinclair, for instance – but he would have to be a borderline lunatic to shell out the sort of dough Tony Pulis will demand for someone to perennially wait in the wings.
Similarly, the player himself is surely not going to give up a guaranteed starting berth at the Britannia knowing he’s going to be bench-warming at the Etihad. However, if the Red Devils were to come calling, it wouldn’t take much to twist his arm.
A January switch to the Theatre of Dreams would likely see him end the campaign with a Premier League winner’s medal around his neck to supplement the inevitable Golden Glove he’s on course to have warming his hands.
As was the case with Robin van Persie, if City and United went head-to-head over Begovic’s services, the red half of Manchester would be where he would end up and, according to the betting the title is heading in the same direction at 1/3.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date