As Joe Hart looks set to move to FC Torino, Anis takes a look at why there and what the future holds for England’s number one.
That’s it. It’s all done. Joe Hart will be moving to Torino FC on loan for the rest of this season. It’s been coming but it doesn’t mean that it has to hurt any less. Joe has been around for as long as I can remember and it’s hard to imagine him at any other club other than City. It’s a shame because he’s the sort of player who could’ve retired here. But some things aren’t meant to be and Pep’s quest for a total-football inducing side has already drawn the first major casualty of his regime.
So you might be wondering why Hart chose Torino of all teams, a side that finished 12th in Serie A. Surely England’s no.1 and one of the finest keepers of last season could do better than a mid-table Italian team? Of course he could. But situations define circumstances and this situation was a direct result of Hart being let-down by Manchester City Football Club.
All summer the major journalists told us that the ‘voices’ from inside the club were adamant that Hart would not be moving and that any unlikely move for a keeper would be one with an eye for the future. But the links continued to intensify. First Marc-André ter Stegen, then Claudio Bravo and then enough goalkeepers to field an entire XI. Hart himself probably thought all summer that he was going to get a genuine opportunity to impress Guardiola only for Txiki or whoever to turn around a day before the season kicked off to tell him that he wouldn’t even be making the bench this season. That’s why it feels like Hart was completely blind-sided. He had been dangled a carrot all summer and then promptly demoted to the level of an academy player. And to rub salt into the wou– actually even worse still, was that instead of forcing him out earlier, City condemned him to several, unsatisfactory options.
While Everton flirted with him a little and so too Sevilla, Sunderland and Torino ended up being front-runners and from there on, there was only one choice. The truth is that no top side goes into a season without an adequate goalkeeper because it’s such a specialist position. Six or eight weeks ago, Liverpool would’ve been all over Joe Hart, so too Everton and maybe a host of other European clubs. Finding a club worthy of Hart’s talents now would’ve been nigh on impossible because the football clubs that could afford Hart are generally meticulously run, with a structured squad planning and in all likelihood, a top goalkeeper already at the club.
So what does the future hold for Joe Hart? Well, I think it all hangs in the balance. Hart never seems to get the credit for his past efforts so his performances this season will probably dictate opinion of his ability and consequently his next move in 2017. Torino are building a good squad, have acquired a good coach and are aiming for a Europa League spot. They aren’t a great side and Hart will busier than he’s ever been at City but that should only help his cause. If he can help carry them to Europe – and impress along the way – then he can be sure to find several good offers on his table at the end of the season. However, stagnate and struggle and it could seriously damage his stock.
A loan move still gives you the slight hope that it might not be goodbye forever but in all likelihood we’ll never seen Joe Hart in a City shirt again. High-profile changes were expected when Pep arrived and we’ve now had our first taste. I can only be thankful that he at least got a dignified farewell rather than being shuffled out the back door.
Farewell Joe Hart, it’s been a pleasure and we will miss you.