Cast your minds back to Euro 2016 – Joe Hart was England’s number one goalkeeper. Since then, it has been all doom and gloom for the 30 year old.
First of all, Pep Guardiola decided that Hart was surplus to requirements last season and sent Hart out on loan to Torino and then new Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate started to look at other options; offering first team opportunities to both Tom Heaton and Jack Butland.
On his day, Hart is still an excellent goalkeeper but he is no longer a consistent and reliable option between the posts. For that reason, Manchester City might try to offload Hart before the end of the summer transfer window.
He is still capable of doing a job for somebody but he no longer has a spot at the Etihad Stadium. With Claudio Bravo and new signing Ederson Moraes, Hart has slipped down to ladder to third choice.
So where might Hart end up? At the time of writing, West Ham are favourites at 5/4 to sign the England man. Slaven Bilic’s side aren’t in desperate need of help in goal but Hart would arguably be a solid upgrade on Adrian and Darren Randolph.
Unfortunately, the Hammers might have to fork out £18 million to acquire the England star – reports suggest that City are not willing to consider a loan deal for the 30 year old.
Interestingly, Aston Villa are suddenly right in the mix at 3/1. Earlier this week, Steve Bruce’s men signed Chelsea legend John Terry and Hart could be the next big name on their transfer list.
Although the England man might see dropping into the Championship as beneath him, a move to Villa – arguably one of the second tier’s top clubs – could be his best opportunity to secure regular first team football.
Next up we have Liverpool at 9/2. Reds supporters would love for Jurgen Klopp to move for Hart this summer but a move looks unlikely at this moment in time.
Simon Mignolet found his best form in the second half of last season whilst Liverpool only signed 24 year old Loris Karius last summer and they are unlikely to give up on him just yet. Like at City, Hart would be fighting to hold down a spot in the starting line-up at Anfield.
Chelsea are an interesting one. Rumours continue to surround Thibaut Courtois’ long term future at Stamford Bridge whilst former City shot stopper Willy Caballero has just joined the defending Premier League champions.
At 5/1, they are short enough considering the fact that Antonio Conte has two decent goalkeepers at his disposal but you never know; football is a funny old game and Chelsea could consider a move for Hart if the price is right.
If none of these clubs can come to an agreement, whether that be a season-long loan or a more permanent fixture, then a City stay could be on the cards.
Sadly, that might mean a year of sitting on the substitute’s bench for the most part of the campaign and that will significantly hinder his chances of representing England at next summer’s World Cup. Hart will be desperate for the chance to prove his worth...
Out of all the options, Hart may prefer to join West Ham above the others. Joining the Hammers may give him the best possible opportunity for regular Premier League football and they will almost certainly be able to meet his wage demands.
Hart may have to take a pay cut to keep the West Ham board sweet but that shouldn’t be an issue. Ahead of a World Cup summer, match sharpness and impressing Southgate should be Hart’s number one priority over making lots of money.