It’s a real shame.
England’s number one goalkeeper, subjected to mass media expectation that his club manager wants him out, although it hasn’t been said publicly.
Reading between the lines and the fact that Guardiola chose Willy Caballero over Hart for the opening game of the season, it does seem as though Joe Hart’s time at the Etihad Stadium is another chapter that is closing for the 29 year-old.
City are thought to have all but agreed a deal to sign Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and it would appear that Hart’s days in Manchester look to be numbered.
There is reported interest from Sevilla in Spain, but it has been suggested that the keeper’s preferred option would be to remain in the Premier League, and that means that Everton could possibly be an option.
Although Everton did sign Maarten Steklenburg this summer, Ronald Koeman has made no secret of the fact that he wants an established number one.
It’s a little more than two years since he signed a new contract to keep him at the club until 2019, but it seems his time at City is coming to a premature end with Guardiola’s arrival.
Pep likes his goalkeepers to become almost outfield players, but with gloves on. Hart isn’t that type of keeper.
Hart has spent more than a decade at City after joining the club from hometown side Shrewsbury in 2006. The 29-year-old has made 347 appearances for City, conceding 347 goals.
In comparison to Guardiola’s Bayern Munich goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, Hart made far, far fewer passes than the German and this highlights the type of number one that the Spaniard wants at City.
But as good a shot-stopper as he is, it was Neuer’s ability with the ball at his feet which made him such a perfect fit for Guardiola’s possession-heavy style of football.
In 97 league appearances over the last three seasons, the 30-year-old played a total of 2,077 short passes to his team-mates – almost four times at many as Hart (562), who was replaced by Willy Caballero last weekend.
Neuer also played more passes per 90 minutes than his City counterpart (33 to 22) and had a far greater passing accuracy, completing 85 per cent of his passes compared to Hart’s 49.
With the help of new recruit John Stones, Guardiola wants City to build from the back, play the ball out of defence and go on the attack immediately.
With Neuer in goal, the Spaniard knew he had a keeper he could rely on to find a team-mate rather than just kick the ball aimlessly up the pitch in the hope it would fall to someone in the same shirt.
Over the last three seasons, the former Schalke No 1 played just 34 per cent of his passes long, instead choosing to go short to those in font of him.
In contrast, 75 per cent of Hart’s passes over the same period were long. Guardiola does not want to see more of the same this season.
Speaking after his side’s opening day win, Guardiola said: ‘I am a guy who takes decisions. I am not afraid about that. I feel it and do it. I think Willy (Caballero) had a really good pre-season. He gave me a lot of confidence for this game, his building-up play, his personality. That is why I chose him.”
‘This line-up was for this game. Of course Joe (Hart) can play in the next game (vs Steaua Bucharest), but I don’t know if he will.’
But we all know he didn’t.
Exit stage left – Joe Hart.