Joe Hart has been linked with a move away from Manchester City after being dropped to the bench at the Etihad Stadium. Stoke City are the team he may be going on loan to with Asmir Begovic heading the other way for a fee believed to be around £15m according to this morning’s Daily Mirror.
It is no secret that Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has not been happy with Hart’s form so far this season, with Costel Pantilimon now preferred to England’s number one stopper.
But what are the chances of it happening?
You would think that Hart is past the stage of being loaned out to clubs lower down the Premier League having been previously on loan at Birmingham City for a season - after getting some game time in the lower divisions with Tranmere Rovers and Blackpool.
Since then he has been the goalkeeper who has won the golden gloves three times in the Manchester City side along with the Premier League title and the FA Cup.
Hart will see it as a step down, and even though England manager Roy Hodgson has said he remains his number one keeper despite the decision to drop him at this club, Hart may be keen to get some first team action to cement that position in a World cup year.
It would be a hasty decision to get rid of the 26-year-old but maybe Pellegrini just doesn’t think he is the man for him.
Asmir Begovic is highly rated and has been linked with several moves away from Stoke in the past couple of seasons – Arsenal and Manchester United have been two sides who are said to have been keen on the goalkeeper.
It’s not the most unrealistic transfer rumour you could ever think of, but if there are noises coming out of City that Hart may not be number one in the long term and could be moved on then you would think that clubs that aim to offer Champions League football will be interested in his services.
image: © ronnie macdonald