Chelsea playing hardball with Bournemouth over Begovic as Celtic keeper is linked

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte insists goalkeeper Asmir Begovic will not be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge unless a replacement can be found for him.

Bournemouth have made an offer for the 29-year-old, who has not made a Premier League appearance for the Blues this season.

Chelsea have yet to respond to the Cherries’ bid and have made enquiries about several keepers themselves, with Celtic and Scotland’s Craig Gordon among those linked.

And Conte said that if the Blues continue to be frustrated in their search for a replacement, Begovic will have to stay and Bournemouth’s approach will be rejected.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference ahead of Chelsea’s FA Cup tie with Brentford, the Italian said: “Begovic is a Chelsea player, it’s important to understand this.

“No club is available to sell you a good player. Why do we have to do this with another club?

“We are open to help him if there is the opportunity to replace him in the best way. If it’s not possible, Begovic will stay with us and help us until the end of the season. Then we’ll evaluate his situation.”

Asked if a move for Gordon might happen, Conte added: “I don’t know. There are a lot of names I read.”

Conte also said he was unsure whether Branislav Ivanovic would leave for Zenit St Petersburg, who are keen to sign the defender.

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