Pulis rules out Begovic sale

Brentford’s Mark Warburton has seemingly ruled himself out of

the running for the technical director post at West Bromwich

Albion.

Warburton had emerged as the leading candidate to replace Dan

Ashworth, who is leaving West Brom at the end of the season to join

the Football Association as director of elite development.

Warburton, who is currently sporting director of Brentford, has

emerged as a highly-rated figure in English football after

co-founding the NextGen series.

But he now admits that he is unlikely to leave Griffin Park.

“I am flattered to have even been considered for such a

position,” he is quoted by the Daily Mail.

“But as it stands I have unfinished business at Brentford and

the NextGen Series is in full swing.”

The Baggies have been considering a number of candidates with

Hamburg sporting director Lee Congleton, Ashworth’s former

assistant Andy Marriott, who is now working in Formula 1 with

Mercedes, and Damien Comolli, formerly of Liverpool and Spurs, in

the frame.

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Reports have suggested that Manchester United and Liverpool are

interested in the Bosnia international, who as an ever-present for

the Potters in their 15 Premier League games this term has conceded

only 12 goals and kept seven clean sheets.

Begovic was quoted earlier this week as saying he is happy to

stay at Stoke and on Thursday morning Pulis, speaking ahead of

Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa, stressed his determination to keep

hold of all his star men for the rest of the season.

Asked about the speculation linking Begovic with a move, Pulis

said: “If a big club comes in for any of our players, then it is

very difficult to say ‘no, we are not going to do it.’

“You can talk as much as you want, though – one thing I will say

is that it is a big year for us this year and we will not be

selling any of our better players in the January window, and that

is full stop.

“It is a massive year for every club in the Premier League and

this football club realises and recognises that.

“You hope you get interest because it shows the player is

playing really well.

“But there will be no sales. We will be looking to bring one or

two in, but there will be no sales of any of the big players at

this football club during the window.”

Begovic had been quoted as saying: “As far as I know it’s all

speculation. It’s always nice when the biggest teams in the world

are looking at you.

“It’s a compliment, but it doesn’t mean anything.

“We keep our feet on the ground here and the manager wouldn’t

let that change.

“I have three-and-a-half years on my contract and I am

concentrating on playing and staying in the team and trying to help

the team be successful.

“I am happy here so there are no issues with that.”

The 25-year-old joined Stoke from Portsmouth in 2010.

Meanwhile, Pulis is hopeful that striker Peter Crouch will be

able to return to action against Villa.

Crouch, who missed last weekend’s 1-0 victory at West Brom after

losing some teeth in a collision with Newcastle’s Fabricio

Coloccini in the previous match, has had a mouth guard fitted and

will be monitored in training ahead of the clash at Villa Park.

“He had a guard fitted yesterday down in London, he will try it

today and we will see how he goes,” Pulis said.

“We are hoping he will be okay and that that will be enough

protection for him to be able to play on Saturday.”