Joe Hart must never have expected the recent turn of events that has occurred in his career. From finishing the last campaign qualifying for the Champions League group stage, during a season in which several of England’s top clubs failed to make the cut, to now reportedly being targeted by Italian club Torino, after falling to 3rd choice at the Etihad.
Manchester City have signed Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo from Barcelona; several top football pundits citing the double Copa America winner’s distribution and technical ability being the reason for the purchase.
With Bravo in and only a few days of the transfer window remaining, Hart faces the biggest decision of his football career. It is reported that Sunderland are a team interested in acquiring Hart’s services, as well as the aforementioned Torino.
Whilst the move means that Hart can remain in the Premier League, Sunderland would be a significant step down in terms of competing quality. Swapping the race for the title for the race for 40 points, could deter the England international from the move.
In contrast, a move to Torino would present with a different scenario for the City outcast. The Turin-based club have gradually established themselves in Italy’s top-flight and now have ambitions on achieving European football. The signing of Hart would certainly improve on the current crop of keepers at the club; 30-year-old Daniele Padelli being their current first choice.
New England manager Sam Allardyce has selected Hart in his squad for his first matches in charge of the national side, however, should Hart remain at City and not get regular game time, then Hart could quickly find himself slip down the pecking order for both club and country.
Fraser Forster and Jack Butland have both impressed when called upon; the days of a goalkeeping crisis in the England ranks are very much a thing of the past.
Whilst it remains unclear where Hart may end up in the coming days, it is clear that staying to fight for a place under Pep Guardiola would be the much riskier option and possibly finish a once very promising career.