All signs have pointed towards Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart – cast aside by new manager Pep Guardiola in dramatic fashion – departing the Etihad before the transfer window shut.
With Hart benched and a replacement deal all but complete, it makes too much sense. However, a report suggests that may not be the case.
According to BBC’s David Ornstein, things have happened so suddenly that Hart feels he might not have enough time to ponder the best move for himself and his family, and thus could likely stay at City to fight for his place.
The options are limited in the first place. Everton seems to be the only Premier League destination with any legs, but even they have just purchased Maarten Stekelenburg this summer, and while Hart would represent an upgrade, it’s still an unsettling position purchasing a player to replace one you’ve just purchased. Sevilla is also reportedly interested, but the Spanish club is seemingly second-guessing itself and the interest seems on and off at best.
Despite all this, reports over the past few days suggest that Hart’s mentality is to avoid a short-term out, which is what Sevilla would likely represent with interest in a loan only. It feels more likely that the 29-year-old will stay at City – at least until the winter – than make a kneejerk move to a new club in the next two weeks.
Much of this Hart business seems contingent on Manchester City signing Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, which likely won’t happen before the Catalans secure a replacement. It seems the club is adamant on having two goalkeepers, which they have done for the past two seasons, sharing the time between Bravo and young Marc-Andre ter Stegen. With ter Stegen staying put, they would like to bring in someone at least as competition, if not to continue sharing time.
A pair of players have seen their names crop up among rumors the most. First is 23-year-old PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, who has just broken into the PSG first team this season for the first time. With Kevin Trapp remaining the starter and cast-away Salvatore Sirigu still not moved, it’s possible a move to Barcelona could be mouth-watering for Areola.
The other, seemingly more likely option is Ajax starter and Dutch international Jasper Cillessen. The 27-year-old has a wealth of experience, having started regularly for the Dutch giants the past three club seasons, and finding himself as the first-choice national team starter since late 2013 as well.
A Manchester City fringe player who seems more likely to leave is Wilfried Bony, who suddenly has a suitor thanks to a nasty injury elsewhere.
With new signing Andre Ayew out for months after tearing his quad, West Ham are yet again left without a star striker to feature alongside Andy Carroll. With little time to find a replacement, Bony seems like a solid fit on a short-term loan, considering the Ivorian is on the outside looking in at the Etihad.
Kelechi Iheanacho‘s new five-year contract suggests that Bony is stuck behind both the youngster and superstar Sergio Aguero, and his best bet for immediate playing time would be a move to the Olympic Stadium. It’s unlikely that West Ham would have the money set aside to complete a permanent move for Bony for anything less than a massively cut-priced deal given the sudden nature of their need, so a loan is likely preferable for the Hammers.
Everton is doing most of its business late in the window, and they may have swooped in on another club’s target.
According to reports in France, the Toffees have submitted a bid for Lyon winger Rachid Ghezzal and may have seen it accepted. West Ham have been tracking the player for weeks, even reportedly submitting a pair of rejected bids, and now Everton may have taken advantage of the Hammers’ slow build.
Ghezzal, 24, has reportedly rejected a new contract at Lyon and therefore has been shopped around this summer. The winger has been left out of the Lyon squad to start the season, but that is due to an adductor tear that will keep him out a further 2-3 weeks.
The Everton bid for Ghezzal is reportedly $12.5 million, with West Ham’s rejected bids in the range of $8 million and $10 million. Their interest in the Algerian is surprising given their recent deal with Yannick Bolasie, although Bolasie is more proficient on the left side of the pitch, whereas Ghezzal is primarily a right winger.