Joe Hart has, in all likelihood, played his final game for Manchester City and must leave the Etihad Stadium in search of first-team football in order to retain his place as England’s no. 1 goalkeeper.
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That much became apparent on Saturday, when Hart was dropped to the bench on Pep Guardiola‘s Premier League debut. The same happened Tuesday, when Willy Caballero again started in goal for Man City’s UEFA Champions League qualifier away to Romanian side Steaua Bucharest. Hart has exactly two weeks to find a new club that can offer the first-team football required to be selected by Sam Allardyce as England begin qualification for the 2018 World Cup at the start of September.
With so little time — and so few starting still jobs attainable — Hart is reportedly only willing to go out on loan for the remainder of the 2016-17 season before making a permanent move for the betterment of his career next summer. Two potential destinations for the 29-year-old, 63-times-capped England ‘keeper? Everton and Sevilla, according to the BBC.
Barcelona’s top two ‘keepers, Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, reportedly both remain on Guardiola’s radar with the ex-Barca manager hopeful of landing a new no. 1 before the Aug. 31 transfer deadline. Spanish newspaper Marca has reported Barca will allow Bravo to leave the Nou Camp once they’ve landed his replacement, Valencia’s Diego Alves. It’s a never-ending game of transfer dominoes.
The Riyad Mahrez transfer saga seems set to last up until the Aug. 31 deadline, and Leicester City have no one but their own player to thank for the latest set of rumors.
Speaking to France Football, Mahrez issued what could be considered a thinly veiled come-and-get-me plea in an attempt to move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs: “There are two or three clubs in the world, that if they come for me, it definitely makes you think, if you understand what I am trying to say.” He went on to say:
“It [the Premier League] is a super league and I would like to stay here as long as possible.”
“It is the best league in the world, the most exciting, where there is the most at stake. There is also constantly a little uncertainty. Last year, we won the league. In Spain, you will never see Levante or Granada finishing top. In France, since the new PSG, it is the same.”
Who are those two or three clubs? Mahrez won’t say, but one can only assume Barcelona and/or Real Madrid make the cut, along with Paris Saint-Germain, where Mahrez was born and raised in the capital city’s northern suburbs. Perhaps the question that matters most: Do Arsenal make the list? They’re the side regularly linked with the 25-year-old Algerian winger, and certainly the side most desperate for a marquee signing over the next 14 days.
Christian Benteke‘s Liverpool career appears all but finished, which makes you wonder why he’s still at the club when everyone knew that was the case with months of the 2015-16 season still to be played.
The big Belgian striker doesn’t fit Jurgen Klopp‘s high-press, fast-paced system, but again, we knew this six months ago. Crystal Palace appear to be the club most keen to land the 25-year-old despite having their latest bid — $39 million after add-ons — rejected by the Reds on Tuesday. The sticking point? Liverpool want more money up front, with less contingent upon unattainable clauses.
Speaking of players who have no future at their current club, Moussa Sissoko is technically still a Newcastle United player, though the 27-year-old midfielder who starred for France at EURO 2016 has not yet and seems unlikely to appear for the club in the Championship this season.
According to French newspaper L’Equipe, Everton and Inter Milan are interested in the player, though he seems to have set his sights on a somewhat unattainable destination — Real Madrid. Newcastle are said to be seeking a transfer fee in the neighborhood of $40 million, which seems as ludicrous as Sissoko hoping to sign for the reigning Champions League winners.
Watford are close to completing the signing of 25-year-old midfielder Roberto Pereyra from Juventus, according to the Sun. Pereyra, who came up through the River Plate youth system and has represented Argentina on 10 occasions, will reportedly cost the Hornets a club-record $17 million.
Walter Mazzarri‘s side is also nearing a deal for Sunderland and ex-Tottenham Hotspur defender Younes Kaboul, according to L’Equipe. After making 23 appearances in his first season at the Stadium of Light, Kaboul, 30, is said to be on the outside looking in at David Moyes‘ plans.