MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, August 24 – Joe Hart has been left furious at his treatment by Manchester City, with the England goalkeeper now facing a race against time to find a new club.
Sportsmail understands Hart, a sudden-outcast, believes new boss Pep Guardiola decided that he was going to replace him before the end of last season.
And he feels that by not informing him of his future earlier, the club he has spent a decade with has severely damaged his chance of a move elsewhere in this transfer window.
Guardiola has started former understudy Willy Caballero in all City’s matches so far this season and is set to bring Barcelona stopper Claudio Bravo to Manchester later this week, a move that would demote Hart to number three in the pecking order.
While publicly keeping his counsel, Hart has privately told friends that he should have been made aware of the situation before the start of the summer which would have given himself and his agent time to find a new club and that he thinks City chose not to sell him for fear of showing their hand and risking the price of goalkeeping targets rocketing as a result.
However, the fact that Hart only found out he was not in Guardiola’s plans when he returned for pre-season training, following an ill-fated European Championship with England, meant that potential buyers had already fixed themselves up with new goalkeepers and has left him somewhat in limbo.
While the former Shrewsbury Town goalkeeper feels his new manager is entitled to make his choices, he has been left saddened by what he perceives to be a lack of consideration over his own career.
Chile international Bravo, 33, is expected to complete a £17m switch from the Nou Camp shortly.
Following his omission from the City starting XI, Hart had been linked with a season-long loan move to Ronald Koeman’s Everton but his £135,000-a-week salary is thought to have been a price the Toffees were unwilling to pay.
Neighbours Liverpool, whose goalkeeping issues continue, would appear to be a likely destination.
However, it is understood that prior to this weekend’s shocking 2-0 defeat at Burnley, Hart was not on the radar of the club’s coaching and scouting team who still hold Simon Mignolet, who signed a new contract in January, in high esteem.
Whether that situation changes before now and the end of the window is unclear.
Seville were also monitoring the situation but their interest has cooled. Hart would be open to a move abroad if he can be assured of first-team football.
He is also keen to win Guardiola over but he is aware that the pending arrival of Bravo would suggest that this is a battle he cannot win.
A season spent on the bench is viewed as a worst-case scenario and something Hart, who has won 63 caps for his country, is very keen to avoid.
He is also mindful of the comments new England manager Sam Allardyce made over the situation.
‘It’s a big concern,’ Allardyce told BBC Radio 5 Live. Last week, Guardiola said that Hart could leave the club if he was unhappy. ‘I don’t want players to stay if they don’t want,’ he said. ‘If they want to stay, stay and we will fight together.’