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Hughes hoping to keep hold of Begovic

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is refusing to accept that Asmir Begovic will be lured away from the Britannia Stadium by one of Europe's biggest clubs at the end of the season.

Asmir Begovic has been in impressive form this season
Asmir Begovic has been linked with a number of clubs from around Europe.

Whittaker: No need to panic

Hughes has already been urged to prepare for the loss of the 15 million pound-rated goalkeeper by his own chairman Peter Coates, who recently conceded that it would be virtually impossible to keep the Bosnia international if a major club meets his transfer valuation.

Since Coates' admission, Begovic has secured his place at the World Cup finals with his country and put in another stunning performance in Saturday's 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion to further underline his claims to be one of the best goalkeepers in Europe.

Hughes is fully aware that playing in Brazil will give Begovic another opportunity to showcase his talents and a good World Cup would only increase the interest in the 26-year-old.

But the Potters boss would like the opportunity to keep on working with Begovic, who has already attracted interest from Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona.
 
"Nothing is inevitable. I think we have one of the top ‘keepers in Europe and if he goes to the World Cup he could prove to be one of the best in the world," Hughes said.

"But I would like to work with him for a lot longer. We have him this season and what will be, will be."

Hughes was in no doubt that without Begovic against West Brom, his side would have tasted defeat as Steve Clarke's men created the better chances.

And he feels it is time the rest of his squad took the pressure off their teammate after they extended their run without scoring in the Premier League to 334 minutes.

"They say goalkeepers can earn you ten to 15 points a season and he certainly earned us one there," Hughes said.

"Some keepers can take the easy balls and come for crosses that are food and drink, but not save you in those key moments, but Asmir certainly can. We are grateful to him again. He was excellent.

"We have to find a way to create more chances and take them. We are creating them, but not taking them and if you are not taking a high percentage of chances then we have to up our average." 

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