LONDON: Asmir Begovic will only move from Chelsea during the transfer window if the Premier League leaders can bring in a replacement before next week’s deadline, Blues manager Antonio Conte said on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Conte’s comments came as Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed London club Chelsea had made an offer for the Glasgow giants’ Scotland international Craig Gordon.
Begovic, 29, is the reserve goalkeeper at Stamford Bridge behind Thibault Courtois.
But Premier League rivals Bournemouth are reported to have made an offer for former Stoke shot-stopper Begovic.
All Conte was prepared to confirm on Friday was that Begovic would start in Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round tie at home to west London rivals Brentford, with Courtois one of several first-team regulars set to be rested.
“Tomorrow? Begovic (will) start,” Conte said. “Begovic is a Chelsea player. It’s important to understand this.
“Begovic is Chelsea’s player and I’m very happy to have him to stay in the squad,” the Italian added.
“I’m very happy for his commitment, his behaviours in and out of the pitch.
“Only if we have a good substitution he can go. Otherwise (Begovic will) stay here.
Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Begovic, who has made four Chelsea appearances this season, arrived a Stamford Bridge on a four-year deal in 2015 after Petr Cech moved across London to Arsenal.
While Conte refused to comment on the speculation linking Gordon to Chelsea, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was far less restrained.
According to British media reports, Chelsea have made a £3 million ($3.7 million, 3.5 million euros) offer for the 34-year-old Gordon.
But Rodgers said that was nowhere near enough to persuade him or the Celtic board to let Gordon go down south to Chelsea.
“There has been an offer but nothing that we would (make us) even think about moving him,” Rodgers said Friday.
“He is a player very much part of what we want to do.
“He has 18 months left on his contract and I want to keep him here to build a team around. We have no interest in selling him.
“When the club spoke to me about it, my message was very simple. He is not a player we want to sell,” the former Liverpool manager insisted.
Asked whether a £3 million offer for Gordon was insulting, Rodgers replied: “It is certainly not his valuation, that is for sure.
“I don’t want to put any numbers on it. The message is pretty clear. He is not for sale.”
Rodgers added: “I don’t want to be in the mind-set of moving a goalkeeper with four days to go, a goalkeeper we have been building up to become a Champions League goalkeeper.”
The Celtic manager said he hoped Gordon would stay loyal to the Hoops after they helped the former Sunderland keeper revive his career when former manager Ronny Deila signed him in 2014 after he had been out for two years with a knee injury.
“Craig is a clever man,” said Rodgers, a former Chelsea youth coach. “He has had a taste of the Premier League when he went to Sunderland and it didn’t quite work out for him.
“I know with the type of guy Craig is, he will be looking at Celtic as the club who brought him back in to resurrect that career that looked like it was disappearing.”