Wednesday 21 February 2018

Hart left angered by Guardiola's 'broken promise'

Keeper set for last City outing off bench in dead rubber as Bravo flies in from Barcelona to complete £17m transfer

Pep Guardiola and Joe Hart exchange words during Manchester City’s training session yesterday Photo: Dave Howarth/PA Wire
Pep Guardiola and Joe Hart exchange words during Manchester City’s training session yesterday Photo: Dave Howarth/PA Wire

Jason Burt

Joe Hart feels he has been jettisoned by Manchester City, who are poised to announce the signing of Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo for £17m, after initially being told he should fight for his place in the team.

Hart is expected to make what will be his final appearance for City tonight - with the club's third-choice keeper Angus Gunn also in the squad - in the Champions League play-off second leg against Steaua Bucharest.

With City leading 5-0 from the away leg, the match is effectively a dead rubber, allowing manager Pep Guardiola to make changes.

City's new manager finally confirmed yesterday that a deal was close for Bravo, who flew into Manchester while City were training, and underwent a medical last night.

The 33-year-old Chilean international is expected to be at the Etihad Stadium to watch City face Steaua and will compete with Willy Caballero to face West Ham on Sunday.

Hart may not have gone by then and although there were suggestions that Everton, regarded as the most likely club to take the 29-year-old on loan, had walked away from a potential deal, that is not understood to be the case.

However, with the transfer window open until next Wednesday, Everton are balking at the loan terms being indicated and want City to take up some of Hart's £120,000-plus-a-week wages.

Sam Allardyce has already expressed his concern over Hart, who endured a torrid time at the end of last season and at Euro 2016, and although the new England manager has said he will include him in his first squad when it is announced on Sunday, ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia, he also stated it was "critical" he quickly found first-team football.

Hart was seen in animated conversation with Guardiola yesterday during training, and although it did not amount to a 'bust-up' it is understood that he feels let down.

Hart spoke to Guardiola during City's pre-season tour to China and was left with the impression then that, although the new manager had serious misgivings about his distribution and kicking, he would be given the opportunity to work on those and fight for his place this season.

Hart now feels that has not happened, with Caballero having started the club's first three matches and a deal now struck with Bravo, who is being replaced as Barcelona's first choice, for league matches, by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the German whom Guardiola had also inquired about.


Barcelona are also close to signing another goalkeeper, believed to be Ajax's Jasper Cillessen.

City have offered Bravo a three-year deal and the opportunity to stake his claim as first choice.

"I cannot deny what everyone knows," Guardiola said. "It was Barcelona who announced last week the contact with Manchester City but, I'm sorry guys, (until) the deal is complete or not complete, after (that) I will be open to answer about one player. Until that moment (Bravo) is not our player."

Asked directly if Hart would play against the Romanians, Guardiola said: "Yep. He has a chance to play tomorrow, the same as Angus (Gunn) and Willy and the other ones."

However, it is understood that Hart has already been informed he will not start the game.

Guardiola was also asked about Hart's future. "I don't know," he said having last week stated Hart was free to leave if he was unhappy but could stay - and improve - if he wanted to.

"He is a player with us. Until 31 of this month, all the players are here are our players, my players, and I work with them like there is no end. After we speak about everything and the situation for Joe is clear."

Hart is understood to be devastated by events, especially as he believes he has not been given a chance by Guardiola. With just under three years left on his contract, he has had no desire to leave City but knows that, having been informed of his position, it is best that he leaves.

"I have an excellent relationship with Joe," Guardiola added. "He is clear with me and me with him. We spoke about football."

City are expected to make changes against Steaua, with the tie over, which could mean a first appearance of the season for Yaya Toure, who has previously not even made the match-day squad under Guardiola, who has suggested the midfielder needs to work harder.

There could also be a debut for new signing Leroy Sane, who is back in full training, and although the Germany international was joined by another new signing, Ilkay Gundogan, and by captain Vincent Kompany, neither is eligible for the play-off round but will be registered for the group stages which come next with the draw tomorrow.

"I will make some rotations, I don't know how many," Guardiola said. "They deserve to play and I am so confident about all the players."

Other players whose future at City is in doubt - Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala along with Oleksandr Zinchenko - have also not been registered for the tie and cannot feature. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport