Liverpool are ready to offer Joe Hart an escape-route from the Etihad Stadium next summer as Manchester City continue to delay talks about a new contract for the goalkeeper.
Manuel Pellegrini has recently given the green light to lucrative long-term extensions for a number of first-team stars including David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero, but the England international's future remains shrouded in doubt amid rumours the Chilean coach is ready to sell.
The £6 million arrival of Willy Caballero from Malaga during the summer has done little to install confidence in Hart, despite the fact the former Shrewsbury Town stopper has retained his No.1 spot so far this season.
Joe Hart quote:
"Anything about a new contract is news to me," explained Hart in the build-up to Manchester City's 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Sunday. "I've heard nothing.
"I've got a year, nearly two years, left on my deal. That is all I am aware of."
Hart was actually dropped by Pellegrini for a two-month period last season following a high-profile error in a match against Jose Mourinho's side, but returned to the starting XI after displacing Costel Pantilimon between the sticks.
The Romanian custodian actually left Manchester City upon the expiry of his contract during the summer off the back of a season's best 18 appearances in the Premier League. His free transfer departure to Sunderland proves that Pellegrini is not afraid to make changes in goal, meaning Hart could end up following his former team-mate out of the exit door.
Hart is unlikely to be short of admirers should he become available for transfer, with Brendan Rodgers ready to lure him to Anfield amid recent criticism of current first-choice keeper Simon Mignolet.
The Belgium international has come under fire from Liverpool supporters in recent months, and the Reds boss knows that he might need to address the problem position before too long.
It's not yet clear whether Hart would consider a move to Merseyside given his affiliation with title rivals Manchester City, a club that he would probably rather remain at and continue fighting for his place in the team.
"I can't moan about it and I can't be too happy about it," he responded when questioned about the competition he faces from back-up Caballero last week. "It is the situation and if I want to stay at this club it's going to be the reality forever.
"I appreciate it more than anyone that we now have at least two quality players for every single position and the goalkeeping department is no different.
"I'm sure he'll get chances to play games, just as I will, and we've got to get on with it."
The Three Lions star turned in a man of the match performance in the Champions League against Bayern Munich last week, but despite his heroics was unable to prevent Pellegrini's side from falling to a 1-0 defeat at the Allianz Arena.