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Another top stopper linked with Joe Hart’s Man City job

Bosnia and Herzogovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was close to a move to Manchester City before the sacking of Roberto Mancini, according to quotes attributed to the 26-year-old in a Bosnian newspaper.

City – who are 2/1 favourites for the Premier League title this season – have been linked with a number of top keepers since manager Manuel Pellegrini lost patience with Joe Hart.

The out-of-form England number one has lost his place at the Etihad to Romanian giant Costel Pantilimon.

Hart looks set to warm the bench for the fourth game in a row when his team take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Pellegrini’s men have won all their games with Pantilimon in the side this season by at least two strikes and are 19/20 to clear a one-goal handicap against Gus Poyet’s Black Cats.

Reports that the Citizens were considering bringing in Begovic before the end of last season will come as a serious blow to Hart, who had been a consistent Premier League performer before a series of blips this term.

It was the former Shrewsbury stopper’s rush of blood to the head that allowed Fernando Torres to grab a last-minute winner for Chelsea against City at Stamford Bridge recently.

Hart has also been feeling the pressure put on his England place by Celtic’s ever-improving number one Fraser Forster, who is expected to make his Three Lions debut in the upcoming friendlies against either Chile or Germany.

Begovic did not rule out a future switch from the Potteries to Manchester in the interview, but did state that he is likely to stay at Stoke until the end of the season.

His former Yugoslav Republic qualified for the World Cup for the first time in its short history by topping European qualifying Group G and their 26-cap netminder wants guaranteed first-team football between now and June.