City looking at England international to challenge Hart?

Manchester City Etihad

The doubts over Joe Hart's long-term future as Manchester City goalkeeper seem to be intensifying, with Celtic's Fraser Forster reportedly a target.

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has dropped goalkeeper Joe Hart from the line-up to face Norwich on Saturday, with Romanian Costel Pantilimon set to follow up his appearance in the Capital One Cup win over Newcastle with his first ever Premier League start.

Hart's poor run of form for club and country has seen his streak of 123 consecutive starts broken, after gifting Chelsea their late winning goal last Sunday, with a catastrophic mix up between the England goalkeeper and Matija Nastasic handing Fernando Torres an open goal to clinch three points for Jose Mourinho's side.

But with Pantilimon unlikely to represent a long-term solution to City's goalkeeping problems, Pellegrini is reportedly lining up a move for £10m-rated Fraser Forster, one of the shot stoppers pressuring Hart for his England place, whilst Malaga's Argentine stopper Willy Caballero has also been strongly linked with a move to the Etihad Stadium.

The Express suggest that City could choose to offer some players to Celtic in part exchange for Forster, with defender Dedryck Boyata and striker John Guidetti potential candidates for loan moves to Scotland as part of any deal for the former Newcastle United goalkeeper.

However, City may have rivals for Forster's signature, with Barcelona supposedly keeping an eye on the 25 year old as Victor Valdes' contract will expire next summer. Forster's performances in the Champions League have earned him a reputation as a talented goalkeeper, and in particular his heroics on multiple occasions against the Catalan giants. Midfielder Xavi has suggested that he's aware of their interest in Forster – and would back any move for him.

"I think the players all know about the Forster interest – and it is a player we know very well”, said Xavi

"I can’t say that I watch him every week – but when we have played Celtic he has shown that he is a world-class goalkeeper."

The Express are also reporting that local rivals Manchester United have an interest in Forster, though this seems unlikely unless current No. 1 David De Gea leaves the club.

With competition for Forster's signature, Pellegrini needs to make a swift decision over who the goalkeeper of the future will be for City. Both Hart and Forster will want to guarantee their places in Roy Hodgson's England squad, and subsequently both will need assurances over their first team chances for the remainder of the season – should City go ahead with a move for former Norwich loanee Forster.

image: © geetarchurchy

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