When Pep Guardiola dropped Joe Hart for Manchester City’s game against Sunderland, he was making a rather bold statement.
Hart, for all his mistakes, is the best goalkeeper at the Etihad Stadium. Yet Guardiola opted for Willy Caballero against David Moyes’ team, leaving Hart on the bench.
You have to wonder if Guardiola would have made such a decision if City’s opponents were of a greater quality than Sunderland, who finished 17th in the table last season.
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Guardiola’s message didn’t need deciphering. He was telling the club’s owners that he wants a new goalkeeper and that he’s willing to sacrifice quality in order to get one.
And Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo think they know the goalkeeper who the former Bayern Munich manager is eyeing.
They claim that either of Barcelona’s goalkeepers, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo, remain on his wish list, with the former being his primary target. Ter Stegen has an €80 million release clause, while Bravo’s is €42m.
Both ‘keepers are battling for the number one position at the Camp Nou but Ter Stegen’s injury, ruling him out for two to three weeks, has postponed the competition.
Last season, Luis Enrique selected Bravo in La Liga fixtures and Ter Stegen in the Copa del Rey and Champions League. The Barcelona boss has two fine shot-stoppers and Guardiola is certainly keen on taking one off his hands.
Manuel Pellegrini dropped Hart in his City spell, but that was simply to see how the England number one would respond.
This, however, feels different. Hart could be set for a prolonged spell on the bench.