Sport Soccer

Monday 20 August 2018

Hart breaks City stay to sign for Burnley

The England international has ended a 12-year stay at Manchester City.

Joe Hart has signed for Burnley (Burnley Football Club)
Joe Hart has signed for Burnley (Burnley Football Club)

By Rory Dollard, Press Association Sport

Joe Hart has ended his 12-year stay at Manchester City after signing for Burnley, who now boast three England goalkeepers on their books.

Hart, who has agreed a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee thought to be no more than £4million, has been looking for a new home after season-long loans at Torino and West Ham. The Clarets emerged as an unexpected destination after injuries to Nick Pope and Tom Heaton.

Manager Sean Dyche decided to enter the market with Pope facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a dislocated shoulder and Heaton returning to fitness after a calf strain.

Hart has known he had no future at the Etihad Stadium, where he played a key role in two Premier League title wins and three cup successes over the course of 348 appearances, ever since Pep Guardiola’s arrival as manager.

The 31-year-old’s situation became even more stark when he was axed by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate on the eve of this summer’s World Cup, with Pope beating him to a place in the final 23 and Heaton named on standby.

“I feel like I’m in the right place and I feel like this is my time to kick on now,” Hart told Clarets Player ahead of his first training session.

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Hart spent last season on loan at West Ham (Mark Kerton/PA)

“I didn’t think really think this was going to be an option. There is a fantastic goalkeeping department here but there was a slot for me and I really feel like I can do something and help this club go in the direction it wants to go.

“Heats and Popey look like they’ve got the best out of themselves here and I want to try and do the same. I’ve heard such good things about the atmosphere.

“They say it’s priceless but to be part of a team where everyone is pushing in the same direction is not as normal as you would expect it to be.”

Hart has not given up hope of adding to his 75 England caps, and kicking off the season in the starting XI of a side who finished seventh in the league last season and have a chance of reaching the Europa League group stages is a good place to start. He will wear number 20 at Turf Moor, where his drastically reduced wage has reportedly been topped up by a pay-off from City.

His departure was marked with warm words from his former employers, who have promised supporters the chance to show their appreciation at a “formal tribute” in the autumn.

City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said “Joe Hart’s contribution to Manchester City cannot be overstated.

“His 12 years at the club have seen him produce some remarkable performances and heart-stopping saves that will live in the memory for a long time to come. His passion for and commitment to this Club, evidenced by a remarkable tally of 348 appearances, means he will rightly be regarded as a City legend in perpetuity.”

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Vincent Kompany paid a fond farewell to his former team-mate (Lynne Cameron/PA)

City captain Vincent Kompany also offered a glowing reference.

“Joe joined as a young lad from Shrewsbury and leaves a City legend,” said the Belgian.

“When you look at the club he joined and the club as it is now, we have come so far during his time in Manchester and Joe has been a huge part of that.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to play alongside him for so many years.”

Press Association

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