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Asmir Begovic: Record January spending ‘brilliant’ for the Premier League

English Premier League clubs shelled out a record £450 million ($639m) on new players in the January transfer window, but goalkeeper Asmir Begovic believes the soaring figures are a “positive thing all round.”

The spending was double the previous record, helped by Liverpool’s signing of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for a world-record fee for a defender of £75 million ($106.5m).

Manchester City’s £57 million ($81m) purchase of Aymeric Laporte and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s £56 million ($80m) move to Arsenal were the two other big-money moves of the winter window.

“This January is specifically crazy compared to the last couple of Januarys, but I think it’s great,” Begovic told CNN Sport after his Bournemouth side beat champions Chelsea, his former club.

“The Premier League is growing every year, the TV money is growing every year, the interest in the league, the best players want to play here.

“So I think it’s amazing, it’s a great product that we have and the more better players we have the better the clubs are and the better the league is. So I think it’s a positive thing all round.”

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Talent stockpiling

In the past, the biggest Premier League clubs have been accused of purchasing some of the country’s most talented players, and then leaving them on the bench and not giving them a chance to play.

In the summer of 2015, Chelsea signed Bosnia’s Begovic after five seasons as Stoke City’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Begovic made the move knowing his playing time in the Chelsea team would be limited behind Thibaut Courtois, who was beginning his second season as the starting goalkeeper.

“I think any athlete, any individual wants to challenge themselves at the highest level,” he said. “You don’t get the opportunity to join a club like Chelsea every single day and for me it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

“I wanted to test myself at the highest level, I wanted to win and compete for trophies and that’s what Chelsea allowed me to do. I had a great two years there, I competed with one of the world’s best in Thibaut Courtois.”

Begovic made just 19 Premier League appearances over two seasons at Chelsea, with 17 of those coming in his first year after Courtois struggled with injury.

However, he did have the honor of lifting the Premier League trophy last season and he believes the sacrifice in regular minutes on the pitch was worth it.

“We went at it every single day and ultimately we won a championship together,” he says. “So for me it’s a worthwhile experience. Sometimes you have to make decisions, whether you want to play more, maybe, or a little bit less.

“When you get to a bigger club it’s much more of a squad game with the amount of games that you play, so you have to understand that you might not be playing every single game.

“But I think as an individual and as an athlete, it’s about testing yourself at the highest level and that’s what those clubs provide.”

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