Why Asmir Begovic could be a statement signing for Derby County
According to The Sun (h/t Derbyshire Live), Derby County have been linked with a move for former Premier League-winning shot-stopper, Asmir Begovic, who is currently plying his trade with Azerbaijani side Qarabag on loan from Bournemouth.
The 32-year-old, who still has two-and-a-half years left to run on his present £60,000-a-week contract at Bournemouth, was loaned out to Qarabag this past summer on a six-month deal after being deemed surplus to requirements by Cherries boss Eddie Howe.
As per the report, the Bosnian international is keen to join another club, be it on loan or on a permanent deal, when his loan agreement with Qarabag expires at the end of December.
The Rams, though, will face stiff competition in their pursuit of the coveted shot-stopper, who is also on the radar of EFL Championship rivals Birmingham City, as well as Premier League outfit West Ham, while Phillip Cocu’s former club PSV Eindhoven have also emerged as potential suitors for his services. (The Sun h/t Derbyshire Live)
Begovic, however, isn’t the only shot-stopper linked with a move to Pride Park ahead of the mid-season trading period, with Sheffield Wednesday star Cameron Dawson also on the club’s radar. (h/t Derbyshire Live)
Begovic, who rose through the youth ranks at Portsmouth and featured in the Premier League for the south coast side earlier in his career, went on to accumulate 173 appearances for Stoke City in all competitions over the course of five-and-a-half seasons before completing a move to Chelsea in the summer of 2015.
The veteran won the Premier League with the Blues during the 2016-17 season, largely playing second-fiddle to first-choice Thibaut Courtois before moving on to join Bournemouth in 2017.
Begovic featured as the undisputed No.1 for the Cherries during his first season at the club but a string of unimpressive displays between the sticks in the previous campaign resulted in him losing his place to Artur Boruc before Aaron Ramsdale took over as the first-choice since the start of the ongoing campaign.
Begovic has since done no harm to his reputation following a temporary move to Qarabag this past summer, managing 6 clean sheets in 15 appearances for the Azerbaijani giants in all competitions while also featuring in the UEFA Europa League group stages.
Derby’s interest in a new shot-stopper has been well-documented in recent times, with first-choice Kelle Roos coming under scrutiny for some basic schoolboy errors between the sticks in recent times.
The Dutchman’s woes with his handling of crosses, coupled with some questionable decision-making in goal, have prompted the Rams to look for new options prior to the second half of the campaign and Begovic is the latest name to have hit the club’s radar.
Huddersfield Town loanee Ben Hamer has been handed over the No.1 duties by Cocu for recent fixtures against QPR and Blackburn but with former England international, Scott Carson, currently out on loan at Man City and out of contract at Pride Park in 2020, a new goalkeeper continues to be a priority.
To put things into perspective, Asmir Begovic struggled to live up to expectations at Bournemouth last season but he could well be an excellent signing for Derby County, who are currently crying out for some much-needed stability in goal.
The 32-year-old, who stands at 6ft 6in, boasts of a wealth of Premier League experience and a bagful of European and international experience in his CV to come through the door at Pride Park as a marquee signing.
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All in all, Derby’s interest in Asmir Begovic certainly makes a lot of sense and his experience and quality in goal could prove to be a decisive factor for the Rams as they look to climb up the table and close the gap on their promotion rivals in the coming months.