Broken Hart contemplates desperate Italian escape

LONDON • Italy has emerged as a possible escape route for Joe Hart as he desperately tries to find a way out of Manchester City before the transfer window closes.

Torino have inquired about taking the England goalkeeper on loan and it is believed they are not the only Serie A club interested in such a move.

Hart is keen to leave City to move to a club where he will be guaranteed regular first-team football before the transfer window closes on Wednesday but has yet to receive an offer that grabs him.

Though linked with Sunderland, who may want a goalkeeper on loan with Vito Mannone sidelined with an elbow injury, Hart has reservations about going to a club who are likely to be involved in a relegation fight.

A move to Everton had been mooted but Ronald Koeman, the manager, has ruled out any possibility of a transfer for the England man.

City's hierarchy have pledged to help Hart resolve his predicament after the arrival of Claudio Bravo from Barcelona relegated the 29-year-old to Pep Guardiola's third-choice 'keeper, behind Bravo and Willy Caballero.

City are prepared to subsidise a considerable part of Hart's £130,000 (S$232,000) weekly wages should he find a suitable loan somewhere.

He knows that if he is to have any chance of keeping his place in Sam Allardyce's England team, he needs to be playing regular first-team football at the highest possible level.

After initial interest from Everton and Sevilla melted away, Hart has been left hoping that a major club will still come in for him in the final days of the window but that prospect is fast receding.

He is willing to go abroad and Torino, who finished 12th in Serie A last season, are under the new management of Sinisa Mihajlovic and are determined to improve.

Should they firm up their interest, Hart would have a serious decision to make.

Guardiola does not believe Hart can play the ball out from defence well enough. His other goalkeepers do the job better, the manager feels.

On Saturday, he admitted that he will never be popular with every player in the City dressing room because of competition for places.

"It would be a dream to work with 11 players and seven on the bench, no more, because then everyone is happy," said the Spaniard.

"At the moment, 19 players don't play, so tell me how you handle that? It is impossible."

Big names such as Hart, Wilfried Bony and Eliaquim Mangala could leave before the transfer window closes, though another fringe player, Yaya Toure, is set to stay.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2016, with the headline 'Broken Hart contemplates desperate Italian escape'. Print Edition | Subscribe