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Begovic: Man City did try to sign me

ESPN staff
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Asmir Begovic has confirmed for the first time that Roberto Mancini tried to sign him at Manchester City last season.

The Stoke City goalkeeper was being lined-up as a potential replacement for Joe Hart in a deal which was referred to by Mancini's former assistant David Platt in an interview earlier this season.

The deal would have undermined Hart's position and now Begovic has admitted that the deal was being pursued by Mancini - and only collapsed when he was sacked in the summer.

Begovic confirmed that a deal was possible in Bosnia's leading daily newspaper, just days after Stoke chairman Peter Coates admitted it would be difficult to keep the goalkeeper if big clubs come calling again.

"As players we are the last to find out things, probably our agents and club officials find out first without talking to us, then at the latter stage of negotiations they will tell us," Begovic said.

"As for Manchester City, when Mancini was on the bench, we were very close to an agreement. The transfer was not realised due to several reasons, but the main one was the departure of the Italian manager."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes knows it will be difficult to keep Begovic beyond the end of the current season, especially if the 26-year-old enjoys an impressive World Cup, but Begovic has no intentions of trying to force a move in January.

Whether City retain an interest under new coach Manuel Pellegrini remains to be seen, while Chelsea, Barcelona and Arsenal are all know admirers of the Bosnia international, but Begovic doesn't want to risk his World Cup prospects next summer by sitting on the bench anywhere during the second half of the current campaign.

"Could I still move to City? I really don't know if negotiations between clubs are still ongoing, but for me probably the best thing would be to stay at Stoke City until the end of the season as in that way I would be truly ready for World Cup in Brazil," he said.

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