EXCLUSIVE | By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes

Chelsea have tabled an improved £8million bid for Asmir Begovic, Football Insider sources understand.

The west Londoners are hopeful their second offer for the Stoke goalkeeper will be enough to prise him from the Britannia Stadium.

Chelsea have been in talks with Stoke about a fee for 28-year-old after agreeing personal terms with their No1 target to replace Petr Cech.

As revealed by Football Insider, the west Londoners have reached an agreement with Begovic on a four-year contract worth £70,000-a-week.

Chelsea made an opening bid of £6million that was rejected by Stoke and have returned to the negotiating table with an £8million offer.

The Potters are holding out for £10million but the Premier League champions believe that figure is too high for a player who only has a year remaining on his contract.


Jose Mourinho has identified Begovic as the goalkeeper he wants to understudy Thibaut Courtois after Cech was announced as an Arsenal player on Monday following his £11million transfer from Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho has made it clear to the Chelsea hierarchy that he wants a proven shot-stopper as back-up to Courtois in case the young Belgian is not available.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes has a ready-made replacement for Begovic in young Englishman Jack Butland, 22.