Pep Guardiola has never changed mind on Joe Hart, has eye on Jack Butland

Manchester City's Joe Hart and Richard Wright during training

HITC Sport understands Manchester City coach never wanted him as number one

Pep Guardiola made it clear to Manchester City some four months that he did not want Joe Hart as his number, HITC Sport understands.

However, HITC Sport understands that City's hierarchy had imagined they would have more time to find a replacement for Hart - but Guardiola made it clear when not selecting the England number one for their opening game with Sunderland, that he is happy for him to leave now.

Manchester City manager Pep GuardiolaManchester City manager Pep Guardiola

Guardiola did his homework on Hart - who is a firm fans favourite at City - and his mind was made up before he even arrived to take up the hot-seat at The Etihad Stadium.

Barcelona's Claudio Bravo has emerged as the most likely arrival although at 33-year-old, the Chilean is anything but a long-term option.

England's Joe HartEngland's Joe Hart

HITC Sport understands that Stoke City's Jack Butland is the man City have their eye on long-term and they had even considered making an approach now, with possibly using Hart as bait - but that looks unfeasible at this point.

Everton are currently favourites to sign Hart, although no bid has yet been submitted by the Toffees.

Guardiola is clear in his belief that he does not want Hart in his squad for various reasons and City's footballing chiefs Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano are now looking at their options - with few people at the club believing that previous number two Willy Caballero is good enough to go through the whole season as first choice.

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