It seems as though Joe Hart’s Manchester City career may be over, amidst rumours that new manager Pep Guardiola is looking to bring in Barcelona stopper Claudio Bravo to replace the axed England number one.
Guardiola opted for Willy Caballero in both of Man City’s opening matches against Sunderland and Steaua Bucuresti, signally that Hart’s time is up at the Etihad.
Guardiola is well known for wanting his sides to build from the back, acting as somewhat of a revolutionary as his sides often play through the thirds regardless of what stands in front of them.
Part of this based on goalkeepers being as comfortable on the ball as they are with their hands. We saw this during his time in Catalonia with former Man United keeper Victor Valdes as well as overseeing Manuel Neuer’s development into near on a third centre back at times.
Joe Hart is a fantastic shot stopper despite his shenanigans in France this summer, although his two high profile errors against Wales and Iceland will have concerned Guardiola.
It’s reported that in pre-season both Hart and Caballero went through extensive passing sessions where their distribution skills were tested by goalkeeping coach Xabier Mancisdor. Each were able to hit certain areas but looked tentative when doing so, with neither being far superior to the other.
Playing out from the back is a key element in Guardiola’s plans, the Spaniard sees it as the start of the attack and if a goalkeeper isn’t comfortable on the floor, he will most likely be out the door.
So what now for Hart?
There is reported interest from Everton although Sevilla has also been mentioned as a possible destination with the Europa League holders looking to bring the 29 year old to the Anoeta on a season long loan.
Of course moving to a different country can be a daunting proposition for anyone but will be especially troublesome for Hart given his age and how settled he is in Manchester, being at City for 10 years and it is likely that the proposition of a move away from the blue part of Manchester hadn’t crossed his mind at any point since making the number 1 jersey his.
He will likely face a similar problem in La Liga as most sides in Spain also look to play out from the back. Gary Neville spoke on the difference between training in Spain and England upon returning to Sky Sport’s Monday Night Football stating that goalkeepers train with the team, being involved in sessions to enhance their confidence on the ball then eventually doing their training after the main session has finished.
It may not be the most convenient move but it is the move the England keeper needs to improve, heading to another country where he is forced to play a certain style, an old dog learning new tricks if you will. It wouldn’t be his first loan whilst at City either.
Bravo is no spring chicken at 32 and a loan certainly leaves the door open for Hart to come back and secure his place in the team again if the loan proves successful.
It’s will be a long journey back for Hart but he’s been able to prove his doubters wrong before at City, but can he do it once more in what is his biggest test yet?