“It is not for us in this moment and hopefully not for us in the future,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp when pressed over the speculation linking him with a summer move for out-of-favour Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart. “He is a fantastic goalkeeper… but we have the highest quality ‘keepers. The situation with our goalkeepers is really good,” he added.
England international Joe Hart is currently completing his season-long loan with Italian Serie A side Torino, but as his stay in Turin concludes, minds must be cast into the future and Hart will have to weigh up the options available to him come the summer. We take a look at where the shot stopper might ply his trade come next season.
Staying at Manchester City
Given Pep Guardiola’s eagerness to part company with Joe Hart despite the obvious deficiencies in the club’s goalkeeping department, it’s fair to rule out this option entirely. If Hart didn’t want to stay and fight his place at the Etihad, a fight he didn’t think he could win, what would have changed this time around? Pep will undoubtedly be handed a transfer war chest and will likely want to spend money on a ball-playing ‘keeper he can mould into his own player.
“I’m all up for a fight,” Hart said in a revealing interview, “but if you’re not going to win then there’s no point in fighting.” He went on to admit that he thinks he’s “surplus to requirements” at Manchester City and it’s extremely unlikely that he’ll stay next season.
He’s at a point in his career where he needs to be playing weekly, especially if he wants to retain the England number one jersey, which doesn’t seem possible at his parent club. As a ‘keeper, you can’t come off the bench and prove yourself in ten minute cameos, so a permanent move makes sense. Barring a complete U-turn from Guardiola, his time in Manchester is finished.
Another Premier League club
“I love the Premier League,” Hart added in his interview and he’s made it clear on multiple occasions that he feels his future lies in England’s top-flight. He’s a ‘keeper with many years’ experience in England and knows the league extremely well. It makes sense that he wants to stay in England and I don’t think he’d be short of options, it just depends how big a step down he wants to make.
Liverpool have turned their noses up at him, despite their problems, but a potential move to Everton could be beneficial to all involved. Joel Robles and Maarten Stekelenburg have confirmed their inadequacy for a side looking to challenge for the top four, whilst Hart is proven Premier League quality. He could provide a short-term fix whilst Ronald Koeman searches for a longer-term option. Moreover, he’s been there before with City in terms of a top four challenge and would provide useful advice and experience for the club as a whole.
There are also options such as West Ham, Bournemouth and even Stoke, who may lose Jack Butland in the summer. He’s guaranteed game-time at these clubs, but the issue of salary now comes into play. Will Hart really want to take a pay cut? Can these clubs even afford him, furthermore? He strikes me as the sort of player that chooses football over money, in truth, one that would be willing to take a step down and a pay cut if it means regular football.
Hart is one of few brave English internationals to try their hand in one of Europe’s other leagues. He’s impressed on loan at Torino and their club president has called for a quick decision on his future, but is wary of the fact that the club “can’t buy him.” Torino is a no-go then as City will want to get him off the books permanently, but that doesn’t rule out another top European club.
“I love the Premier League, but I wouldn’t say it’s top of my wishlist. Top of my wishlist is to play for a club that wants me to be their goalkeeper.” From his own admission, it’s very clear that Hart just wants to play regular football, whether that be in England or abroad.
Where does Hart’s future lie?
In my opinion, if Hart gets offers from clubs in England, he’s going to stay in the country, barring a lucrative offer from a top European club. Given his preference of the Premier League, I think he’d likely take a move to a smaller club in England than one of similar standing abroad, like Torino. Nobody knows what the future holds and Hart has remained fairly quiet on the specifics of his future, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in England next season.
Where will Joe Hart be next season? Will he stay in England? Let us know in the comments section below.