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Chelsea closing on Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic

Image: Asmir Begovic battled with Jack Butland for Stoke's No 1 jersey last season

Chelsea are favourites to secure the services of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, according to Sky sources.

The 27-year-old is into the final 12 months of his contract and is understood to have talked with manager Mark Hughes and chief executive Tony Scholes over his future with the club not wanting to see their keeper leave.

We understand that on Friday that Stoke rejected a bid from Aston Villa for Begovic.

But on Sunday, Sky sources say that Chelsea now head the queue for the Bosnia-Herzegovina international, although there remains "lots of interest" from other clubs.

The Stamford Bridge club will be keen to acquire back-up for Thibaut Courtois with Petr Cech on the verge of completing a move to Arsenal.  

Begovic signed for Stoke from Portsmouth in 2010 and quickly established himself as the club's first choice, but he was left out of a number of Premier League games at the end of last season - something boss Hughes admitted the keeper did not take kindly to.

Jack Butland, the England U21s keeper, was preferred ahead of him and Sky sources understand that should Begovic leave, Butland will become their No 1. If Begovic stays, Butland will be allowed to leave the Britannia on loan.

Born in the former Yugoslavia, Begovic moved to Canada with his family at 10 years old. He played youth football in Germany for FC Kirchhausen and became a Canada U20 international before his senior international debut with Bosnia. 

Begovic moved to Portsmouth in 2005 and had loan spells with Yeovil, Bournemouth and Ipswich.

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