Celtic boss Rodgers warns Chelsea off Begovic replacement

Date published: Thursday 26th January 2017 8:28

Chelsea have drafted up a goalkeeping shortlist should in-demand Asmir Begovic leave this transfer window, with Celtic’s Craig Gordon topping the list.

The Blues are weighing up their goalkeeping options after current second choice goalkeeper Begovic was subject to a £10million bid from Bournemouth this month.

That deal, however, hinges on Chelsea’s ability to bring in a top-class replacement for the Bosnian, and former Sunderland shot-stopper Craig Gordon is the shock top target for Antonio Conte.

The Scottish keeper spent five years on Wearside and is accustomed to the Premier League, which gives Conte reassurance over the 34-year-olds calibre.

Celtic are less than keen to sell their goalkeeper, though, as manager Brendon Rodgers has given the Stamford Bridge club a hands-off warning.

When asked about Chelsea’s reported interest, Rodgers said: “If it is the case then of course we don’t want to sell him.

“I am not surprised. His contract is up at the end of the season but there is an option for the club. But it is not something we would consider really.

“I worked at Chelsea for four and bit years. It is a difficult decision for a player especially if you are getting financial rewards at the end of it.

“There was many good players who came in and you get a little bit excited when you come in, the facilities are fantastic, there are world class players.

“But after one year it is about playing. Craig has had that trauma of a couple of years out, not playing. And from my experience, he loves playing football.

“He maybe thought his career was done but he is 34, fit as he has ever been and playing at the best level he has done, according to him.

“He has the opportunity to win trophies. He has the opportunity to play in the Champions League and he has an opportunity to stay at home with his family.

“His kids are settled so he is in a good place and we want to keep him.

“Of course it is a great honour if these clubs want him but he knows like all of them, Celtic is a huge club and he is very much part of what we are trying to build here.”

If Chelsea were to fail in their pursuit for Gordon, goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon, who has been included in the scouting, has recommend Milan’s Diego López and Fernando Muslera of Galatasaray as possible alternatives.

Chelsea were keen on Lopez at the start of the season as a replacement for Begovic, but the former Real Madrid was signed by Espanyol on a season-long loan.

Muslera is already well known by Conte due to his four-year spell in Italy with Lazio, and has impressed significantly on the international stage for Uruguay, earning 85 caps for his national side.

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