Since Pep Guardiola’s arrival, it has been well documented that he isn’t the biggest fan of Joe Hart. The England international, who had a torrid time at the Euros, may have come back expecting a vote of confidence from his new Spanish manager, similar to what underperforming winger Raheem Sterling received. Yet, the English shot-stopper received anything but, instead, he was made to watch on as former bench-warmer Willy Caballero took his starting berth.
Hart played what seemed to be his final game in City colours in the second leg against FC Steaua Bucuresti – a game that was already done and dusted with City brushing off their opponents 5-0 in the away fixture. An emotional Hart was met equally by an emotional crowd who showed their support to a player that cost them only £500,000 and one who has represented the club tremendously.
Things were to go from bad to worse for Hart, though, with Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo joining the club for a reported £17 million. Guardiola suggested the decision to replace Hart wasn’t easy, but the Spaniard wants a world-class keeper that can contribute with his feet as well as his hands.
So, with the 33-year-old Claudio Bravo set to take Hart’s starting spot, where will Hart be playing next season?
With Moyes confirming the injury to Vito Mannone yesterday, he suggested that the Black Cats are in the market for a new goalkeeper having now only got Jordan Pickford and their academy goalkeepers available to them.
City have also said they are looking for a place for Hart to play and the opportunity at Sunderland means Hart would get first team action. The Citizens suggested that they would be happy to cover the bulk of Hart’s £130,000 wages while for Moyes, a top goalkeeper could aid his problems as they look to avoid relegation this season.
Hart’s loan move could also further the development of young Pickford, with Hart taking the role of a mentor to the England U21 international.
After Everton and Sevilla reportedly ruled themselves out of a move for the English number 1, Liverpool, in terms of history, are the biggest club still with an interest in Harts signature, if it was only to be on a one-year loan.
With the trouble that Liverpool have had in goal over the last few years, they may have sorted their problems with Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius, yet the German picked up an injury to rule him out the start of the season and Mignolet has already conceded five goals in two games.
Signing Hart on a loan deal would certainly be an upgrade to Mignolet, while when Karius returns, both keepers will be doing their utmost to claim the starting spot with Hart putting in extra work potentially to convince Klopp to sign him on a permanent deal.
Long shot: Staying with Manchester City
With City doing all they can to secure Joe Hart first team football elsewhere, and Guardiola having replaced the 29-year-old before he’s even step foot out the door, Hart staying at Manchester City would certainly be described as a long shot.
Yet, it would be a testament to Hart’s character, of which he has portrayed himself superbly already, if he was to stay and prove his manager wrong.
With intense training on his technical aspects, Hart still has time to develop into a playmaking ‘keeper, if there is such a term.
If Hart was to improve his passing ability and overall distribution, there’s no reason to why Guardiola would not pick him. The younger of Bravo, and certainly his match in terms of his goalkeeping ability, Hart may stick around to displace his Chilean replacement.
As much as the story of Hart proving Pep wrong appeals to everyone, it is unlikely to happen. With the club so keen to move him on, Hart must face the facts and find a new club.
Klopp’s weird liking to players who aren’t performing to their highest standard; Moreno and Mignolet being the main culprits, may mean that Hart’s move to Liverpool is a non-starter, if he was to join, the Reds would have four keepers on their books.
Vito Mannone’s injury opens up an opportunity that no other team can really offer and while it may not be at the standard Hart would desire, a string of good performances could lead to a big club pursuing his signature, Arsenal most likely with Cech ageing. It seems as the using Sunderland as a stepping stone could be his best option.
Featured Image – All Rights Reserved by Steve Mcmetha.