Liverpool are considering a move for Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic - but he is not at the top of their list of options should Pepe Reina leave for Barcelona, ESPN understands.
Begovic was quoted in The Sun on Friday morning as stating that he would be joining up with Brendan Rodgers’ squad for pre-season training on July 10.
That followed reports in the Bosnian media earlier in the week suggesting that Liverpool had secured a deal with Stoke for the 25-year-old.
It is understood that the Reds have identified a number of goalkeeping options in the event of Reina’s departure, and that Begovic is among them.
But no deal has been agreed, and Rodgers is believed to be looking at other candidates ahead of the Bosnia international.
Begovic, who has been on holiday in the United States this week, has long been linked with a move away from the Britannia Stadium, having arrived from Portsmouth in 2010. Stoke signed England international Jack Butland from Birmingham in January to prepare for his departure.
On Thursday, the ‘keeper was reported by the Bosnian website SportSport as saying: “Will I leave Stoke City? There are many rumours, but so far I didn’t get any concrete offers. But that doesn’t mean that I will not get one.”
However, Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes released a statement on the club's official website claiming that the speculation is completely unfounded.
"Asmir's agent rang me as soon as these stories surfaced. He assures me that Asmir doesn't know the Bosnian journalist and has certainly never spoken to him," Scholes said.
"It's complete fabrication and unfortunately it has been picked up by a paper in this country.
"It's inevitable when a manager parts company with a Club that there's a period of uncertainty and erroneous newspaper reports certainly don't help matters."
Reina’s future at Anfield has been the subject of debate for several months, as the ‘keeper has been repeatedly linked with a return to his first club Barcelona.
The 30-year-old, whose contract with Liverpool runs until 2016, insisted on Tuesday that he is happy at the club, but stopped short of completely denying reports suggesting he will move to the Camp Nou.
Barca are seeking a long-term replacement for Victor Valdes, who has told them he will not be renewing his contract that runs out in 2014.