Everton have taken their time getting going in the summer transfer window, but with a new manager in place and a couple of closed-doors preseason friendlies later, the club have now made a couple of quick signings under Rafa Benitez. Earlier on Tuesday the Blues announced winger Andros Townsend has signed on.
Now, 34-year-old goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has joined the Toffees on a free transfer from AFC Bournemouth, signing a one-year deal with the option of a further year after passing his medical on Saturday. The Bosnia native was raised in Germany and Canada, and has represented the North American nation at the youth level before making his debut for the Bosnian national team where he has picked up 63 caps.
He has also featured for Chelsea, AC Milan, Bournemouth, Stoke City and Portsmouth among others in his career, making over 250 appearances in the Premier League and lifting the title in 2016-17 under Antonio Conte as the understudy to Thibaut Courtois.
Speaking at his signing, Begovic said -
“When I first heard of the possibility of joining Everton, I was really excited.
“Opportunities like this don’t come around every day so I’m honoured and pleased to be here.
“The ambition is to get this club to where it belongs. We want to be challenging for those European spots, challenging for trophies and being in that upper echelon of the league.
“With the squad we have, the fan base, and the tradition of the club, everything is in place for us to be successful.
“Just in my first couple of conversations with the manager, it’s clear he has a massive knowledge of the game. He has an incredible track record in terms of what he’s achieved and accomplished. To work for those sorts of managers, it’s something that’s very good for me.”
Begovic will be charged with providing a steadying influence on Everton and England #1 Jordan Pickford, who has been in the best form of his life, especially in the latter half of last season having overcome the media scrutiny and public harassment following his collision with Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk early last season.
With the 34-year-old now in the squad, it’ll be interesting to see if youngsters Joao Virginia and Harry Tyrer are both moved out on loan to continue to gain first team experience or if Benitez and goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly will choose to keep them in-house for now.
Speaking about his role in the squad, Begovic added:
“Jordan is a world-class goalkeeper. I think the goalkeeping group here is fantastic.
“We’re going to push each other every single day and set those standards in training.
“We also have a great goalkeeping coach in Alan Kelly.
“I’m definitely here to compete [for a place] and to try to help this team in any way I can.”
The veteran goalie is expected to be part of the traveling party later this week as the squad heads stateside to take part in the Florida Cup, with games against Millonarios and then Inter Milan or Arsenal scheduled for next week.