Premier League

Stoke firm on Begovic & Nzonzi

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Fri, 24 May 2013 12:26:00

Feyenoord assistant manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst admits the Dutch club's star players are attracting interest from England - somewhere the former Arsenal defender hopes to one day manage.

After retiring following the 2010 World Cup final against Spain, the 38-year-old moved into coaching at his hometown club under Ronald Koeman.

Feyenoord have enjoyed a great resurgence in that period, posting back-to-back top-three finishes after a struggling in mid-table before their arrival.

A lot of that success is down to the talent coming through the Rotterdam club's youth system, such as Bruno Martins Indi, Steven de Vrij and Jordy Clasie.

All three have been heavily linked with a move to the Barclays Premier League, but the latter two recently penned new deals at De Kuip - a move Van Bronckhorst believes will benefit their career in the long run.

"There is always interest from England," he told Press Association Sport. "I think it is good for them to give the message that they want to stay.

"As a club, we really wanted them to stay but the decision is always has to be the player's.

"We are happy they will stay because it means we can keep our squad together and challenge for the title next year."

Martins Indi's immediate future is a little less certain, with the Dutch centre-back linked to both AC Milan and Van Bronckhorst's former side Arsenal.

"He is very good," Van Bronckhorst said. "He is strong and has been in the first-team for a couple of the years and is a regular with the national team.

"He will eventually take the step to a club in Europe and, of course, when the time comes and a player wants to leave, he will leave.

"We are happy to have him but we know we cannot compete with the top clubs in Europe."

Van Bronckhorst is currently over in London ahead of the Champions League final and will be putting on his boots again on Saturday.

The former Rangers and Barcelona defender will play in the Ultimate Champions Match at the UEFA Champions Festival in Stratford, but insists he does not miss the playing side.

He has just secured his UEFA Pro Licence with a view to becoming a manager and a return to England is something that appeals.

"It is a great league if you're a fan, a player or a manager," Van Bronckhorst added.

"It is certainly a place I want to work in the future but for now I am enjoying my time at Feyenoord, where I am trying to develop myself as a coach and a manager.

"Eventually when I feel the time is right to become a number one, I will take that role."

Law has signed a pre-contract agreement at Ibrox that will see him officially become a Rangers player when their transfer embargo expires on September 1.

McCall could soon follow him out of the door after holding talks with the Blades over their vacant managerial role this week.

Law came through the ranks at Bramall Lane when McCall was a player/coach and then assistant to manager Neil Warnock. He then signed for McCall twice, on loan at Bradford and at Motherwell in 2011.

Motherwell secured third and second in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and played in the Champions League qualifiers in the ensuing two years and Law is not surprised that the npower League One side have earmarked McCall as a candidate to replace Danny Wilson.

"I'm certainly not and particularly at Sheffield United with the ties he has there," said Law as he was unveiled as a Rangers player today.

"With Stuart, wherever he goes, he seems to leave there as a legend.

"He was only at Sheffield United as a player for two or three seasons but I was there with him and he is really loved by everybody at that football club, and the fans as well.

"I'm not too sure about the situation. From Motherwell's perspective it would be a massive blow to lose Stuart McCall.

"He's the manager of the year in the SPL and everyone can see what a fantastic job he has done there. To be the best of the rest two years on the spin is a fantastic achievement.

"People have praised us as players at Motherwell and given them a lot of plaudits, and rightly so because we have got some good players there.

"But I can tell you he is a massive part of that and is probably the biggest part of it.

"He's a fantastic manager and I'm sure he is going to go on to bigger and better things.

"Unfortunately for Motherwell at some point they will lose him. Whether that's now I don't know but I would have thought at some point they will."

The 25-year-old, who scored 13 goals in 86 goals for Motherwell, added: "For me he has been absolutely brilliant. You all know what I think of him.

"I had a conversation with him this morning and he wished me all the best here and said it was a fantastic opportunity and that I would love it.

"As well as a great manager, he is a great man as well. he has been fantastic with me and I will always stay in touch with him. I can't speak highly enough of him."

The 21-year-old struck 19 goals for the Bulls last season having moved from Darlington and his move to the Minstermen sees a return to the Football League having begun his career with Carlisle.

Bowman is York's third signing of the close season as Nigel Worthington continues to shape his squad for the new campaign.

Navarro, who has a year remaining on his contract at the County Ground, is the subject of a loan enquiry by the Spireites, who want the 31-year-old on a season-long deal for the 2013/14 campaign.

Navarro joined the Robins from Brighton last summer, but injury limited him to just 20 appearances during a difficult first year in Wiltshire.

Swindon are thought to be keen to get the former Liverpool trainee off their wage bill, while Chesterfield boss Paul Cook has freed up funds by releasing eight players as he looks to rebuild his squad following an inconsistent season in League Two that saw the Spireites miss out on the play-offs by two points.

French midfielder Nzonzi put in his request before Tony Pulis' departure after seven years in charge was confirmed on Tuesday.

However, 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."

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

"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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