Joe Hart to leave Burnley
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Joe Hart will become a free agent at the end of this month after Burnley decided not to renew his contract.

Hart, who arrived at Turf Moor in 2018 for £3.5 million from Manchester City, last played for the Clarets in the FA Cup defeat at home to Norwich City, after making only two other appearances since December 2018, both of which were also in cup competition.

His last Premier League appearance came in the 1-5 defeat at home to Everton in the 2018-19 season, when he was replaced by Tom Heaton who was making his return for the win against West Ham in the next game.

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Once Heaton was sold, Hart fell behind Nick Pope in the pecking order at The Clarets with Bailey Peacock-Farrell also moving ahead of him.

Since, Hart has played twice in the FA Cup, against Peterborough and Norwich, and once in the Carabao Cup in the defeat to Sunderland. 

What happened to Hart’s career?

Hart was integral in the Manchester City title winning teams of 2012 and 2014, and won four Premier League golden glove awards in his time at the Etihad.

However, the arrival of Pep Guardiola saw Hart fall out of favour when the Spaniard brought Claudio Bravo from Barcelona in 2016.

Guardiola wanted to implement his typical ball playing style, and he identified this as a weakness in Hart’s game.

That season, Hart was shipped out on loan to Italian outfit Torino and struggled in Serie A, making a number of mistakes in the 2016-17 season.

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The following season saw the former England be sent out on loan again, this time to West Ham where he only made 19 appearances.

Hart has accumulated 75 caps for his country over his career but struggled to be selected after a disastrous European Championships in 2016 saw him lose his place in the squad.

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A move to Turf Moor was seen as a potential kick-start for his career, but Hart only managed 19 appearances in the 2018-19 season, with a mere four clean sheets to his name.

Despite his very sudden demise, Hart managed to make 127 clean sheets over a very storied Premier League career, in just 340 games according to PremierLeague.com.

He has won 169 games in his career so far, which is only slightly below 50%, and averaged 19.8 passes per game during this time, which is nine less than Bravo who replaced him and only five less than Ederson who is Guardiola’s current number one.

What next for Hart?

Hart is only 33 years old which, as seen with a number of goalkeepers in the past, could see him keep playing for the best part of another decade.

He could easily still perform at a very solid level in English football, but the upper echelons of the Premier League may be out of his reach, even if there are conversations about a sensational move to Arsenal circulating social media. 

Championship clubs looking to take the step up from mid-table to a playoff or promotion contender would jump at the chance of signing a former International goalkeeper with bags of experience.

Hart would demand respect but would also be willing to put his head down and get to work, after a frustrating three or four years.

Former employer Birmingham City could have a shot, as well as teams like Queens Park Rangers or Derby County who are all looking to return to the top tier.

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Hart could be on the bench on Monday against Guardiola and Manchester City, as the Clarets make the short journey to the Etihad in their return to Premier League action.

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