With Claudio Bravo arriving in Manchester to complete his switch to the Etihad Stadium, Pep Guardiola has got his ideal goalkeeper.
Given that the goalkeeper position is an integral part of his system, it’s a surprise the Manchester City boss waited until the final weeks of the transfer window to make his move for a shot-stopper.
Nevertheless, he’s got his man. Bravo will join from Barcelona in a deal worth £17 million.
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But while Guardiola is chuffed, Joe Hart isn’t. The England number one has been made an outcast by the City boss, failing to play in any of the opening three games of the new season, and could exit the club before the August 31 deadline.
Everton have reportedly dropped their interest in the 29-year-old due to his £7m-a-year wage demands but the Toffees aren’t the only team monitoring Hart’s situation.
When footage surfaced of Hart leaving City’s training pitch on Tuesday morning after a discussion with Guardiola, it was only natural to conclude that the pair had a heated exchange which ended in the goalkeeper walking out of training.
That narrative certainly adds to the juiciness of the story. But Andy Hampson of the Press Association has explained just why Hart left the pitch.
Even Guardiola’s comment that Hart has a chance to play in City’s Champions League qualfier against Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday night isn’t as comforting as it might sound.
He’s gone from starting at the Santiago Bernabeu in a Champions League semi-final to potentially - but not certainly - playing against Steaua Bucharest in less than four months.
And England manager Sam Allardyce admitted Hart’s situation is a “big concern”.
Carragher nailed it
Hart will look back on this stage of his career without too much pleasure but Jamie Carragher hit the nail on his head when he said we shouldn’t feel sorry for him.
Rumours that Guardiola would arrive at City intensified late last year; his appointment was confirmed in February. Hart has had ample time to work on his abilities with the ball at his feet, the skill that Guardiola longs for in his goalkeepers.
“Was Hart studying videos of Neuer and Victor Valdes to see what Guardiola wants from a 'sweeper keeper' when the team plays such a high line?,” Carragher wrote in his Daily Mail column. “Was he going out on to the training ground, working on his left foot and his touch?
“There were extra things that he could have done to give himself a head start.
“Do not think, though, that he is the victim of a calculated plan, that the treatment handed out to him is not befitting someone of his age and experience.”
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