Joe Hart must be wondering what he’s done to upset Pep Guardiola.
If being dropped for Manchester City’s Premier League opener against Sunderland wasn’t painful enough, it seems as if Guardiola isn’t even willing to allow the England number one the opportunity to reclaim his place in the starting line-up.
Rumours linking Hart with an exit from the Etihad Stadium are intensifying, with Everton said to be interested, and now any suitors will know just how much they’ll have to pay for the City outcast.
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According to various reports, Guardiola has no intention of letting Hart leave on loan. With Claudio Bravo’s arrival from Barcelona inching closer, the City boss figured there’s little use in making Hart’s departure a temporary one.
And so we’re left wondering just what Hart’s price tag is. Given that City have an excess of riches, seem eager to sell and are only forking out £17 million for Bravo, you’d figure that they would let the England international leave for a modest fee.
But The Sun claim City will only sell if they receive a bid in excess of £30m.
That would make Hart the second-most expensive goalkeeper in football history and would smash the Premier League record Manchester United set when they paid £18m for David de Gea.
For a 29-year-old who made two terrible errors for England at Euro 2016, there certainly appears to be better value out there.
Why the wait?
It’s very surprising that Guardiola, who was named Manuel Pellegrini’s replacement in February, would wait until the final month of the transfer window to finalise his goalkeeper arrangement.
The former Bayern Munich boss has until August 31 to find a buyer or risk having an unhappy Hart in the locker room.
Joey Barton: It's disgusting
Of course, Guardiola has final say over his squad. He wants a goalkeeper who is more comfortable when in possession than Hart is and there is nothing wrong with that.
However, former City midfielder Joey Barton has a problem with Hart not being allowed to fight for his place in the team.
“The club I left and watch now are two totally different organisations.” the City academy graduate said, per The Guardian. “The club I played for wouldn’t have treated a player that had been a servant for as long as Joe has in the manner that it has. I think it is disgusting.
“I don’t see what he has done wrong to be treated the way he has. His attitude isn’t terrible. It is common human decency, regardless of how good a coach you are. Why treat him like that?
“I’ve watched Caballero and are you telling me Caballero is better with his feet than Joe Hart? I haven’t seen it.
“Why not let him fight for his place and then if he is not good enough say: ‘I have given him an opportunity.’ That’s what every manager should do, give everyone an opportunity.”