Saturday 22 July 2017

Chelsea consider move for Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon as Asmir Begovic's future remains uncertain

Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon. Photo: PA
Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon. Photo: PA

Matt Law

Craig Gordon is the surprise name on a three-man shortlist drawn up by Chelsea as they consider whether or not to allow Asmir Begovic to join Bournemouth this month.

The other two goalkeepers Chelsea are looking at are Diego López, as previously reported by Telegraph Sport, and Galatasaray’s Uruguay international Fernando Muslera.

Chelsea have already rejected one bid in the region of £10 million for Begovic from Bournemouth, but are considering their options because they are aware the Bosnia international would like to make the move and play regular first-team football.

Begovic will only be sold this month if an attractive replacement who Chelsea can sign is identified and former first-team goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon has been involved in highlighting potential targets.

Lollichon has recommended Gordon to Chelsea before and the 34-year-old has plenty of Premier League experience from his five-year spell at Sunderland.

But Gordon is currently Celtic’s first-choice goalkeeper and has a contract that runs until the summer of 2018, so any deal would not be straightforward for Chelsea to negotiate.

Chelsea could offer Celtic players on loan as part of a bid for Gordon with their former coach Brendan Rodgers among the admirers of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Dominic Solanke and Ola Aina.

Other than Gordon, Chelsea are interested in 30-year-old Muslera, who is Galatasaray’s No 1 and is contracted to the Turkish club until 2018. Muslera is already known to Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte and goalkeeping coach Gianluca Spinelli from his four-year spell at Lazio.

Although he does not have Premier League experience, Muslera has played 85 times for Uruguay and performed particularly well in the 2010 World Cup after which he was voted the seventh best goalkeeper in the world.

Chelsea looked at signing former Real Madrid goalkeeper López from AC Milan last summer when they feared Begovic would leave. The 35-year-old has since moved on a season-long loan to Espanyol, where he is first choice.

Conte has spoken of his respect for Begovic, who is highly rated by Chelsea, and has agreed to try to find a solution that would allow him to join Bournemouth and play regular first-team football.

But Conte will not do anything to jeopardise Chelsea’s Premier League title bid, which means he could yet keep Begovic until the end of the season.

Begovic is currently preparing for Chelsea’s FA Cup tie against Brentford, which he is due to play in if no deal for his departure is agreed before the weekend.

Conte will make a host of changes and rest key players against Brentford, with Nathan Ake expected to make his first appearance since his Bournemouth loan was cut short.

Any decision to rest Gary Cahill, however, will not be made because of the central defender’s clash of heads with Ryan Mason.

Cahill visited Mason, who underwent surgery on a fractured skull, in hospital after the game against Hull City but a decision on whether or not he faces Brentford will not have a connection to the incident.

Captain John Terry and Kurt Zouma are expected to face Brentford, which means Conte will make at least two changes to his three-man central defence.

Telegraph.co.uk

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