Joe Hart is undoubtedly one of the Premier League’s finest goalkeepers. No keeper has won the Premier League Golden Glove award more, and Joe regularly pulls off big saves. However, the arrival of Guardiola in the summer has made some wonder if he has the right skillset of a typical Pep goalkeeper. Manuel Neuer is the perfect Guardiola goalkeeper, almost an extra defender in a ‘sweeper keeper’ role, and extremely comfortable with the ball at his feet. Hart is many things, but is not known for his effortless one-twos with Otamendi or Kompany, or high pass completion.
So today’s report by FC Inter News is of some interest. Part of the Tutto Mercato Network, FC Inter News is one of the Italian sites that pride themselves on digging up info before others. And they believe Guardiola fancies Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanović, not to challenge Joe Hart, but to replace him! The report claims City are considering an offer of €25 million to €30 million (£19.3 million to £23.2 million) for the 31-year-old Slovenian.
This is a big claim, of course, one that is easy to dismiss as nonsense. And it may well be, but Pep has been known to make radical decisions in order to build his squad. It does seem unlikely that Hart will go anywhere, especially given his youth, iconic standing in modern day City, and familiarity with the English game, but Handanović’s technical attributes are more in line with what Pep likes from his goalkeepers.
Handanović’s pass completion rate is 69.3% this season, significantly better than Joe Hart’s which is currently 54% in all competitions. Neither can compare to the phenomenal Neuer, who has a pass completion level of 85.5% in all competitions, which for example is better than all four of City’s full-backs, but in a system like Bayern’s you’d expect more short passes from a goalkeeper and vastly superior pass completion.
Is this nonsense or could Pep actually replace Joe Hart? It would be a very controversial and unpopular decision, so perhaps the happy compromise between Pep and City chiefs would be to bring in a backup really capable of making Joe sweat – something Willy Caballero hasn’t been able to do. It would be tough to convince a renowned keeper such as Handanović to start life at City on the bench, so if this story from Italy has any credibility, it could lead to one of the shocks of the summer – Joe Hart’s departure!
Would Handanović be a good signing, either as a replacement or competition for Hart? Check out the Inter goalkeeper in action: