Stoke manager Mark Hughes has rubbished claims that Asmir Begovic is set to leave the club to sign for Real Madrid.
The Bosnian goalkeeper has emerged as a shock target for the La Liga giants this week, with Carlo Ancelotti believed to be weighing up a concrete summer move.
There have even been some tentative suggestions that initial contact has been made, and Begovic himself has admitted publically that he is “proud” to be linked with a club of Real’s stature.
However Hughes is adamant that there have been no official approaches, although he does know that interest in his man is likely to be high:
“I’m not sure where the story originates from, but certainly there has been no contact between the clubs,” he is quoted by The Metro.
“But it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a modicum of truth in it — that top teams are looking at Asmir — because he is an outstanding goalkeeper.
“We are certainly not encouraging it. Asmir is a huge part of what we are trying to do here.
“We are very fortunate that he is here and contracted to us. In that regard we have a position of strength.
“But he is an ambitious player and I’m sure he wants at some point to test himself at the highest level possible, in the Champions League.”
Begovic has developed into one of the Premier League’s top ‘keepers since joining Stoke in 2010 from Portsmouth.
He was heavily linked with a switch to Manchester City last year, while Ancelotti is believed to have made overtures for his services during his time at Chelsea.