Football: Hart set to sign new deal with City

Manchester City's Joe Hart takes part in a training session at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northern England on Sept 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Manchester City's Joe Hart takes part in a training session at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northern England on Sept 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart is set to sign a new contract with the Premier League champions.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed on Friday that the England international is ready to commit his long-term future to the club and the improved deal is expected to be confirmed in the next few days.

Hart had reportedly been in discussions with the club over a five-year contract since the close-season.

His present contract, worth a reported 80,000 pounds (S$165,187) per week, is due to expire in 2016.

The 27-year-old has been in fine form this season, underlining his status as first choice for club and country after a spell out of Pellegrini's side last year.

Pellegrini, speaking on Friday at a press conference to preview Saturday's home clash with Everton, said: "I always said it is important for this club to keep Joe with us.

"He is a very good goalkeeper and not only a very good goalkeeper, he is a very important player for the squad also. So - maybe - in the next day you will have good news." Asked if that meant within 24 hours, Pellegrini said: "I can't say exactly the amount of hours, but the next day." Hart was axed by Pellegrini in favour of then number two Costel Pantilimon in October 2013 after a series of high-profile mistakes and did not regain his place until December.

He went on to finish the season well, but Pellegrini decided to increase the competition for his place by signing a new goalkeeper in Willy Caballero from his old club Malaga.

"Joe is having a very good season. The arrival of Willy Caballero was very important for the club, for Joe, for Willy, for everyone - because he is a very good goalkeeper," Pellegrini added.

"I think the best way for players to have high performance is when they have important competition. I think that was very useful for him and I am very happy about that."