23 Aug Bravo checks in, will Hart check out?
Claudia Bravo has touched down in Manchester ahead of his proposed move to Manchester City.
The Barcelona keeper is expected to undergo a medical before finalising personal terms on a deal that will cost City around £17m for his services.
The transfer could signal the end of Joe Hart’s career at city, despite the fact manager Pep Guardiola maintains he has a good relationship with the England International.
The pair were seen in deep conversation as City trained in front of media ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League play-off second leg against Steaua Bucharest.
Because Hart then walked off the training pitch immediately after the pair spoke, footage has given the impression to some they may not get on.
But that is misleading as Hart and his fellow goalkeepers were due to train on a separate pitch further away from cameras and Guardiola has insisted there was nothing untoward in their discussions.
Speaking at a press conference, Guardiola said: “I have an excellent relationship with Joe. We were clear, him with me and I with him, and we spoke about our football.”
Guardiola even insists he has not ruled out the possibility of Hart featuring against Steaua, a game which City will begin with a 5-0 aggregate lead.
“He has a chance to play tomorrow,” said Guardiola. “I have said many times, he is a player of us.”
Guardiola, however, would not deny that Bravo is poised to join City in the coming days.
Guardiola said: “I cannot deny what everybody knows. Barcelona were the first ones who announced contact with Manchester City but, sorry, the deal is not complete. After that I will be open to answer questions but in this moment he is not our player.”
With Willy Caballero having so far been preferred in goal so far this season, the likely arrival of Bravo could effectively relegate Hart to third choice.
Speculation Hart could leave City before next week’s transfer deadline is intensifying although Everton’s apparent interest has reportedly cooled. Sevilla have also been linked with the 29-year-old but Guardiola claims he is not aware of any approaches.
He said: “I am not able to speak (about that) because I do not know what is going on.”
The ruthless decisions to drop Hart and another club linchpin, Yaya Toure, has detracted a little from City’s winning start to the season.
Guardiola has overseen victories in his opening three games and progress to the Champions League stage should be confirmed on Wednesday, with last week’s convincing success in Romania leaving the second leg little more than a formality.
Guardiola is not looking at the game that way, however, and is demanding maximum commitment from his players.
He said: “I will make some rotations. I don’t know how many, they all deserve to play and I am so confident about all the players.
“But I have a lot of respect for the opponent and I know what happens in football. Everybody knows it’s not done until it’s done.
“I have seen many times in the Champions League – at half-time an experienced team like AC Milan were 3-0 ahead and the final was done, but Liverpool won the Champions League final.
“I don’t like to play the game when people say it’s easy and it’s finished. No, a lot can happen.”