Stoke make inroads into goalkeeper with Begovic future unclear

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Chelsea are still 1/20 to finish in the Premier League this season, but there are clearly concerns that if they have to rely too heavily on Ross Turnbull, then this finish is under threat.

Turnbull has featured in seven games this season with Petr Cech having some injury problems and in this stretch, Chelsea have managed just a single clean sheet.

Meanwhile, four goals have been conceded in the past week in fixtures the club would have expected to win away at League One neighbours Brentford in the FA Cup and then at Reading, who struck twice in injury time to rob a point.

Thibaut Courtois is widely seen as the long-term Cech successor, but is currently enjoying a successful loan stint at Atletico Madrid.

Therefore, a new signing between the sticks may arrive on deadline day and it is Stoke number one Asmir Begovic that is being heavily linked.

Begovic has stated until now that he is committed to Stoke, but rumours that the Potters are the first club to make Birmingham a formal offer for Jack Butland suggests that he may be on his way.

Meanwhile, Begovic has also been linked with Manchester United given David De Gea’s inconsistent form, although if this deal was to be pushed through it would not be until the summer.

First-team football is the number one demand of Butland and this seems the obvious reason why he has rebuffed previous advances from both Chelsea and Manchester City.

Whether he would start ahead of Begovic at Stoke is debateable, but if he could be promised regular starts from next season, this may sway his decision, especially with Birmingham in dire need of money.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.