Wednesday 21 March 2018

Begovic included in Stoke tour

Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has been named in the Stoke squad for their pre-season trip to Singapore
Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has been named in the Stoke squad for their pre-season trip to Singapore

Stoke have named Asmir Begovic and Steven N'Zonzi in their 23-man squad for next week's Barclays Asia Trophy tournament in Singapore - but have added the proviso that the party is subject to change.

Both Bosnian goalkeeper Begovic and French midfielder N'Zonzi have been linked with moves away from the Britannia Stadium ahead of the new season.

Begovic has been linked with Chelsea and Manchester United this summer while Spanish club Sevilla have confirmed their interest in N'Zonzi, who has 12 months remaining on his Stoke contract.

Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes said last month he remains hopeful they can persuade N'Zonzi to sign a contract extension but reports have suggested the 26-year-old is looking for a move this summer.

"We are negotiating, we are in the fight," Sevilla sporting director Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo told reporters in Spain about their pursuit of N'Zonzi.

"We have less and less leeway. If N'Zonzi or Stoke don't think that we can offer what they want, we will look for other possibilities.

"That's why we've been working all season."

But both Begovic and N'Zonzi were named in the Stoke party for the Singapore trip as Mark Hughes' men prepared to fly out to the Far East on Wednesday night, although the official club website reported the squad could change.

"The Potters will land in Singapore on Thursday evening and will spend the weekend in an intensive training camp ahead of the tournament," said

Summer signing Joselu, who joined from Hannover for eight million euros (£5.74million) last month, is set to feature for the first time as Stoke play Everton in their Asia Trophy opener on July 15.

Stoke will then play either Arsenal or Singapore Select XI three days later.

Hughes confirmed on Wednesday that Stoke were ready to let N'Zonzi speak to Sevilla ahead of a potential £7million move.

"Sevilla have obviously shown a huge interest in Steven," Hughes told the Stoke Sentinel.

"We are probably at a point where we can allow Steven to speak to Sevilla. That will happen in the next 24 hours or so.

"You would imagine at that point if the deal is correct and is what we think it is then the deal would probably be concluded and Steven will join Sevilla.

"He's played very well since I came to the club to be perfectly honest. We have tried very hard to convince him that his future lay with us.

"These things are never cut and dried and until it actually happens as there are always things which can develop very quickly."

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