City could land Barca goalie Bravo this week

Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo celebrates after Luis Suarez scored the team's second goal against Real Betis on August 20 in the Primera Division.
Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo celebrates after Luis Suarez scored the team's second goal against Real Betis on August 20 in the Primera Division. PHOTO: EPA

LONDON • Pep Guardiola hopes to sign the Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo this week in what would be a further blow to Joe Hart's career at Manchester City.

Luis Enrique, Barca's coach, wants a new No. 1 in place before he allows Bravo to join City, with Ajax's Jasper Cillessen now ahead of Valencia's Diego Alves as the expected replacement.

On Saturday, Barcelona posted on the club's Twitter feed after Bravo was beaten twice in Barcelona's 6-2 defeat of Real Betis: "FC Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez: 'We have the beginning of an agreement with Manchester City for Claudio Bravo'."

The club then added: "Robert F. on Bravo and his replacement: 'We are awaiting events this week. When Claudio leaves, we hope to have a new 'keeper'."

Bravo, 33, has been battling Marc-Andre ter Stegen to be Barca's first-choice goalkeeper for two seasons. Fearful that he would lose his place this year due to pressure from the German, he had threatened to leave if he could not keep his role.

Guardiola does not want the 29-year-old Hart at City, and again dropped the England goalkeeper for Saturday's 4-1 Premier League win at Stoke City.

Instead, Willy Caballero was selected for a third consecutive game of the season.

Hart is considering his options, but is understood to be unsure about a loan move to Sevilla, despite the Spanish club being in the Champions League.

Everton are interested in signing him, also probably on a temporary basis.

Last Friday, Guardiola admitted for the first time that he would allow Hart to leave should he wish.

He added: "Maybe Joe will stay here and be a player who will fight with the other goalkeepers to convince me to play (him). It's simple like that.

"He knows from the beginning what I feel and what is the situation. After that I know he may be staying, he may be leaving, the same case for other players. That's what it is."

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2016, with the headline 'City could land Barca goalie Bravo this week'. Print Edition | Subscribe