Pulis: If they want Begović, they’ll need to pay a lot

Chelsea v Stoke City - Premier LeagueTony Pulis insists he hasn’t put a price on Asmir Begović’s head because he hasn’t given it any thought, reports The  Sentinel.

Valuations for the high-rated Stoke City goalkeeper have risen to £15m amid on-going talk of serious interest from the two Manchester giants, Chelsea and even Arsenal ahead of a summer move.

But Pulis says no-one has contacted him about the 25-year-old Bosnian … and he would love to keep him for at least one more season.

“No-one has rung me up to speak to be about Asmir,” declared Pulis ahead of tonight’s Premier League clash at Sunderland (8pm).

“If they did, they would have to spend a hell of a lot of money to take him anywhere.

“I couldn’t give you a price because I haven’t even thought about it.”

He says Stoke were justified in resisting an approach from Chelsea a couple of seasons ago when Begović was clearly rattled by their interest.

“Of course that was going to unsettle someone as young as Asmir, but once that one went away he was fine,” said his manager. “He kept his head down and worked hard.

“One day, if a big club comes in, he will look at it I’m sure, but now he will have the experience of having dealt with that before. That said, he’s happy here at the moment.”

Begović’s departure from the Britannia Stadium was widely assumed when Stoke signed young England keeper Jack Butland in January, but Pulis can envisage having both keepers at his disposal and loaning Butland back out.

“The fact we have signed Jack doesn’t mean we are going to sell Asmir,” he asserted.

Begović goes searching for his third successive clean sheet at Sunderland this evening and his 13th in 36 league games this season.

Pulis continued: “I think Asmir has just got better and better over the over the past two years.

“He’s wrestled the position away from Thomas (Sorensen) and I really do think he’s a top goalkeeper now. Eventually, I think he will be one of the top goalkeepers.

“I think he’s got a presence about him now, and with the really top goalkeepers you always get that presence.

“He commands his box a lot more these days and takes controls of through balls and crosses.

“But he should be doing because he’s a blinking giant. He’s got a great size about him and fills the goal.

“He’s played for his country in the last two years and he handles the big-game situations well. In fact, the bigger the occasion, the more I think he enjoys it.”

Late fitness tests will decide whether either Andy Wilkinson or Marc Wilson can return from injury to play in Stoke’s back four front of Begović.

(photo: dailymail)

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