Manchester City cruised to victory in their Champions League play-off round game in Bucharest earlier in the week but once again the headlines surrounded the fact that Joe Hart was once again dropped to the bench in favour of Willy Caballero.
And it seems as if Hart has now accepted that his chances of playing under Pep Guardiola are going to be very limited and a move away before the end of the transfer window seems the most likely outcome for the England international. But it seems as if Hart isn’t quite ready to cut the ties with Manchester City.
That’s because he feels that at this present time a loan move would be the ideal situation as he bids to find a club that will allow to regain first team football. The question though would be where could Hart end up going before the end of the transfer window.
Any move can only be facilitated if Pep Guardiola brings in a replacement, that doesn’t seem to be too far away with both current Barcelona keepers Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre ter Stergen being linked with a move to Manchester. Barcelona are in the position of somewhat luxury as they have two world class goalkeepers but that naturally comes with the fact that they will both want to be the No.1 at the Nou Camp and no matter how much Luis Enrique rotates his two keepers it’s far from an ideal compromise.
So should one of them make that move to The Etihad then Hart will be free to leave but the list of potential suitors will not be all that long. All Manchester City’s title rivals currently have enough quality on their books to not have to consider signing Hart plus there would be a reluctance from City for a move of that nature to take place.
Therefore Hart will have to look further down the table if he is to find an exit route before September but even then the options are limited. Liverpool could be a possibility with there still long term doubts over Simon Mignolet but they have already signed Loris Karius this Summer so a keeper isn’t necessarily top of their shopping list right now.
If you would to go over to the blue half of Merseyside then Everton could be more of a likely possibility although they themselves have replenished their goalkeeper ranks with the signing of Maarten Stekelenburg. Whether or not Ronald Koeman will feel it necessary to also bring Joe Hart remains to be seen,
If a move to Merseyside is not on the table then Hart himself would have to ask himself how far the Premier League table he would be willing to go. Southampton, Stoke and Burnley already have England goalkeepers of their own and that will diminish those options ever further.
The only logical escape route could be out of England altogether with a move to either Spain or Germany. English players especially at the top level are often faced with the criticism that they don’t try their luck abroad enough and for Hart this could be the perfect opportunity in which to do so.
Then again you have to ask yourself whether or not Joe Hart is showing enough character here. Instead of being up for the fight of the keepers jersey at Manchester City it seems as if the England no.1 at Euro 2016 is prepared to take the easy way out. Or perhaps he knows deep down that he’d be fighting a battle he just cannot win.
Hart will also have his England aspirations on his mind, after a Euro 2016 which saw him at fault for two of the goals that England conceded he would have been looking to bounce back from that and get a string of good performances under his belt under new boss Sam Allardyce.
But with a period of inactivity now looming large it seems as if his status as the nation’s No.1 could be very much in doubt with Southampton’s Fraser Forster and when he returns from injury Stoke’s Jack Butland ready and waiting to make that position their own.
Joe Hart has been on Manchester City’s books for 10 years now and in that time he has taken in loan spells at Tranmere Rovers, Blackpool and Birmingham, Now it’s highly unlikely that he will be revisiting any of those clubs in the very near future but it seems very likely that will be adding another loan stint to his career. The thing will have to wait and see is whether or not it’s at home or abroad.