Manchester City’s Joe Hart is likely to begin the Premier League season as the club’s number one goalkeeper after Barcelona ruled out the sale of Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
With former Barca boss Pep Guardiola now in charge at the Etihad Stadium, there have been suggestions that he is tempted to bid for one of the two goalkeepers from his old club to replace the England international.
Hart’s form has been under scrutiny in recent weeks after disappointing performances at Euro 2016 with England. Along with multiple England players, the current City number one fell well below his usual performance level in a competition which ultimately saw the Three Lions knocked out of the tournament at the last-16 stage against minnows Iceland.
Despite Hart being under pressure, it does seem that he will get every chance to prove himself to Guardiola as Barcelona have set their stance to insist that neither goalkeeper will be leaving the club this summer.
Barcelona’s sporting director Robert Fernandez was speaking at the presentation of the club’s latest recruit, left-back Lucas Digne, and insisted he will do “what it takes to prevent either goalkeeper from leaving this summer.”
Fernandez said: “Our stance has not changed one bit. People speculate too much, but the fact is we have two extraordinary goalkeepers under contract.”
Regular first team football
The Catalan club have struggled for a consistent goalkeeper to fill the void left by Victor Valdes as Guardiola’s time with the club came to an end.
Manager Luis Enrique is yet to choose a permanent shot-stopper and regularly changes between Bravo, who generally plays La Liga matches, and ter Stegen who fills in for cup competitions.
That uncertainty has, in recent weeks, given City confidence that they may be able to tempt one of the two to Manchester with the offer of regular first-team football.
But with Barca seemingly adamant that neither player will be on offer to Guardiola, it will be left to Hart to put a woeful summer behind him and prove that he is able to adapt to the style of play that Guardiola will expect from the Blues.