Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic will be giving himself a much better chance of winning trophies by joining Chelsea, but it’s hard to see him playing a huge role in actually lifting the biggest prizes.
Begovic has just a year left on his contract and Stoke have taken the decision to cash in after failing to reach agreement on an extension.
Stoke have a ready-made replacement in Jack Butland to step in as No.1 and are likely to bring in Shay Given as an experienced back-up.
You certainly can’t blame Stoke for being prepared to take the money on offer for Begovic, especially as Butland has the potential to be England’s No.1 keeper in the future.
Jose Mourinho has been looking for another keeper after reluctantly letting Petr Cech join Arsenal and Begovic would be a reliable back-up for Thibaut Courtois, and he would also leave Chelsea with some change left over.
But, from Begovic’s point of view, it’s hard to see what he is going to get out of joining Chelsea beyond a lucrative four-year contract worth a reported £75,000 a week.
Having only just turned 28, the Bosnian is hardly at the stage of his career where he could be reasonably content to be sitting on the bench, especially as he has established himself as one of the most reliable keepers in the Premier League over the past five years.
If Cech was unable to dislodge Courtois as Mourinho’s first choice, then it is extremely unlikely that Begovic is going to be able to do so. Cech made just seven appearances in the Premier League last season and they were primarily because Courtois was injured. He also featured just three times in the Champions League.
Cup competitions will be the primary source of games for Begovic at Stamford Bridge. Cech started the League Cup final over Tottenham last season and, with Chelsea likely to be favourites in the FA Cup betting for next season, Begovic will have a strong chance of winning a trophy.
But surely someone of Begovic’s ability would prefer to be playing every week in the Premier League, rather than accept a role as the understudy to a keeper who has justifiable claims to being the best in the division?
You can’t fault Begovic’s faith in his own ability to believe he can challenge Courtois to be Mourinho’s No.1.
Yet he is surely capable of being the No.1 at the majority of Premier League clubs. Aston Villa’s interest may seem more of a sideways step in his career, but Manchester United have also been linked with signing Begovic as a replacement for Real Madrid target David de Gea.
Begovic would go to Old Trafford with a realistic chance of playing every week. But, at Chelsea, then there is a fear that a keeper of huge talent will be left wasting away on the bench.