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Prem Report Card: Stoke

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Imbula stars as Stoke end on a high

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Mark Hughes continues to frustrate

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Begovic keen to stay put at Stoke

Asmir Begovic says he is thinking only of playing for Stoke City next season, despite the door to his possible departure being left open by chairman Peter Coates.

Asmir Begovic joined Stoke from Portsmouth in 2010
Asmir Begovic says he is happy at Stoke

Coates has previously said that the 25-year-old ‘keeper would be allowed to leave up to three years before the end of his contract if a leading European club came up with the necessary asking price.

But Stoke’s Player of the Year, who has been linked in the past with Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, is expecting to be at the Britannia Stadium next term to try to hold off the challenges to his No. 1 spot from Jack Butland and Thomas Sorensen.

“I am happy to be here and I am happy to stay here,” he said. “I am looking forward to reporting back in pre-season, meeting the new manager and staff and cracking on with the new season.

“The most important thing is I am at a club where I am settled and I feel comfortable. Everyone has been really good to me and the chairman has been fantastic.

“I am going to have to work hard to keep my place and I am looking forward to that. Jack is a good up-and-coming ‘keeper and everyone knows about Thomas and the qualities he has. He has a good deal of experience and quality. We have a strong group of goalkeepers and I am looking forward to being part of it.”

Stoke value Begovic at £15 million and are not under any pressure to sell him as they plan for life under new manager Mark Hughes.

The ‘keeper’s stock could be set to rise even higher with next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil, with Bosnia and Herzegovina, looming. He helped them to a 5-0 win in Latvia last Friday to keep them three points clear at the top of their qualifying group.

Begovic said: “It would be incredible if we could get through to the finals.”

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