Stoke hit out over Begovic offer but Chelsea remain undeterred

Potters say goalkeeper's head has been turned after claiming that he refused to play in Carling Cup victory

Chelsea retain an interest in goalkeeper Asmir Begovic despite the escalating row with Stoke City over the player's failure to play in the Carling Cup win over Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night.

Chelsea have offered £4m for the 23-year-old Bosnia international, but face competition from Fulham who are looking at their options as they prepare for the departure of Mark Schwarzer to Arsenal.

Double-winners Chelsea believe Begovic would put greater pressure on No 1 Petr Cech than their current reserves Henrique Hilario and Ross Turnbull, but maintain he is only being considered as an understudy.

Stoke however believe Begovic's head has been turned and are considering fining and disciplining the keeper for telling manager Tony Pulis on Tuesday morning that he did not want to play in that evening's game.

Stoke chairman Peter Coates said yesterday he will not be listening to any further offers for their player. "This is an internal matter – and we will decide on what action to take," Coates said. "He is regarded as one of the best young goalkeepers in the Premier League and we are not interested in any new offers from Chelsea.

"We are not interested in what Chelsea do and we have already rejected an offer from them for Begovic. We wouldn't welcome another bid from Chelsea and, as far as I am aware, we have not received a new offer from Chelsea for him."

Begovic insisted yesterday he did not refuse to play, and would have appeared against Shrewsbury had he been asked to play. The goalkeeper spoke with Bobby Barnes, the deputy chief executive of the players' union the Professional Footballers' Association, to make it clear that he had only said his head was "scrambled".

Barnes said: "The PFA would never condone a player refusing to play for his club, but Asmir was at great pains to make it clear to me, and the wider public, that had he been asked to play against Shrewsbury he would have done so.

"A question was asked of him whether he was in the right frame of mind to play given the interest from Chelsea and he could have said his head was a bit scrambled but he insists he was prepared to play if required. At no stage did he say he wouldn't play.

Barnes added: "He was asked whether his mind was 100 per cent right ahead of the game and he gave a negative response, so the manager then made a decision."

Begovic's actions are the latest example of players who cannot bring themselves to play for their club in the face of rampant transfer speculation.

Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano was omitted from the squad that lost 3-0 to Manchester City on Monday night, with the prospect of a move to Barcelona on the horizon. Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson said after the game: "Javier Mascherano is not in the right frame of mind at the moment to play the game because his head has been turned by the offer from Barcelona."

On the opening day of the season Wigan manager Roberto Martinez left midfielder Charles N'Zogbia out of the squad to face Blackpool because he was not in the right frame of mind with Sunderland and Birmingham City competing for his services.

They have some way to go however if they are to match the tantrum thrown by Dutch striker Pierre van Hooijdonk, who went on strike for three months at Nottingham Forest in 1998 and trained in the Netherlands when they would not let him leave.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms