Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has revealed that he won’t stand in the way of goalkeeper Joe Hart, should he request for a transfer this summer.
The Spanish coach dropped Hart for Man City’s first two competitive matches this season and the England International could soon be heading for exit in search of regular football.
Man City are reportedly on the verge of signing Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who Guardiola sees as his No. 1 stopper at the Etihad Stadium for the coming years, meaning Hart could be instructed to play second fiddle to the Chilean goalkeeper.
But when asked if Hart can leave if he handed in a transfer request, Guardiola said: “Of course. I don’t want players who are unhappy.
“I spoke with Joe the first moment we met in China [on the pre-season tour], I have a lot of respect for him as a person and as a keeper. He’s valuable. Until 31st [August], everything is open – If Joe is still here, he will fight for his place.”
Guardiola has previously revealed that Hart, who has made over 260 league appearances since joining Man City in 2006, was ‘unhappy’ after his omission from the side in the Premier League opener against Sunderland last weekend.
And while Hart has thought to have attracted interest from a host of European clubs, the English stopper’s priority is to continue playing in the Premier League despite reports claiming that he is prepared to move abroad.
Everton remain keen to sign the 28-year-old on season-long loan or on permanent transfer after Toffees boss Ronald Koeman dropped hint that the club ‘need three goalkeepers‘, when he was asked if Everton’s interest in Hart is concrete.
Koeman said: “What I don’t like is talk about rumours and that applies for the next two weeks. So many players are linked to Everton, and today it’s Joe Hart, but I prefer not to talk about players under contract.
“What I can say, though, is that you are always looking for players that will make a stronger squad than we have. One of our jobs is to improve the team and if we don’t have that type of player we will sign that player.”
“We need three goalkeepers‚“ Koeman said. “We have Joel, we have Martin, we have a young goalkeeper.”