Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Stoke reject Nzonzi transfer request

Steven Nzonzi, pictured, put in his transfer request before Tony Pulis' departure

Stoke have confirmed midfielder Steven Nzonzi's transfer request has been rejected but stress it was not related to the departure of Tony Pulis.

French midfielder Nzonzi put in his request before Pulis' departure after seven years in charge was confirmed on Tuesday, but the club have no inclination to sell a player they only signed on a four-year contract from Blackburn for £3.5million last summer.

"Stoke can confirm the club has rejected a written transfer request from midfielder Steven Nzonzi," said a statement. "Contrary to reports the French midfielder tabled his request earlier this week before the departure of Tony Pulis from the Britannia Stadium. The club intend to make no further comment on this matter."

And Stoke have also dismissed reports claiming goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is on the verge of a move to Liverpool as "complete fabrication".

The sense of upheaval in the wake of Pulis' departure, which is also likely to see a clear-out of his backroom staff with the club seeking to go in a new direction, has only been increased by speculation about Begovic.

Reports began to emerge in Bosnia that a deal had been struck for him to move to Anfield to replace Jose Reina, who has been linked with a summer switch to Barcelona for some time.

The 25-year-old is on Liverpool's list of potential targets should they be faced with replacing Reina - which is far from certain - but he is by no means their first choice, but with the rumours gathering momentum the Potters have been compelled to quash speculation.

"Asmir's agent rang me as soon as these stories surfaced," chief executive Tony Scholes told scfc.com. "He assures me that Asmir doesn't know the Bosnian journalist and has certainly never spoken to him.

"It's complete fabrication and unfortunately it has been picked up by a paper in this country.

"It's inevitable when a manager parts company with a club that there's a period of uncertainty and erroneous newspaper reports certainly don't help matters."

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