Claudio Bravo was pictured leaving Barcelona Airport on Tuesday and his expected move to Manchester City is likely to trigger the departure of England goalkeeper Joe Hart. The 33-year-old Bravo is set for a medical this week at the Etihad Stadium where he will team up again with former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.
The Spanish champions said on Saturday they had reached a “preliminary agreement with City” for the sale of the Chile captain. Guardiola confirmed Bravo’s imminent arrival when asked about Bravo at a news conference on Tuesday, saying: “I cannot deny what everyone knows”.
Argentine Willy Caballero has been preferred to Hart in City’s three games this season but England’s number one could yet feature in Wednesday’s Champions League playoff second leg against Steaua Bucharest. “Yes, he has a chance to play,” said Guardiola. “I have an excellent relationship with Joe, him with me.”
City go into the second leg holding a commanding 5-0 lead over Steaua. Hart’s transformation from City’s number one for eight seasons to second, and possibly, third choice represents a remarkable turnaround for the 28-year-old. He has made 266 appearances for the club and been a mainstay of their rise to become one of England’s major forces.
Guardiola is determined to start moves at the back with a goalkeeper who is “able to play with the ball” and has explained that Hart is free to leave if he is unhappy. “I spoke with Joe from the first moment we met,” added City’s new coach. “I try to be clear with my players and I was clear with him.
“The first thing I am looking for from the goalkeeper is to save. After that he has to be able to help us to create a good build-up. That is why I am here.” In six seasons at his previous clubs Barca and Bayern Munich, Guardiola’s keepers Victor Valdes and Manuel Neuer had the highest passing accuracy rates of any in their respective leagues. Hart may also face a battle to re-establish his international career although new manager Sam Allardyce has said that he will name him on Sunday in his first squad for next month’s World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.