Chelsea are the Surprise Favorites to Acquire Joe Hart from Manchester City

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Thursday night, on the eve of Manchester City’s first preseason friendly of the season and goalkeeper Joe Hart’s first game for City in 695 days, manager Pep Guardiola said in a press conference that he would try to find a solution for the 31-year-old this summer.

Joe Hart played the entire second half of City’s 1-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund, registering an impressive save in the 72′ on former City wonder kid Jadon Sancho. The only goal in the first International Champions Cup match was scored by Mario Gotze on a penalty kick which beat Claudio Bravo.

joe hart

Guardiola was asked last night if that solution for Hart lie elsewhere, and if exhibition matches like this, in which he saw 45 minutes of action and displayed quality, provide an opportunity for him to remind potential suitors of his value.

“We have four goalkeepers, we decided today to use Claudio Bravo and Joe Hart,” Guardiola responded.

“What Joe has done in the past 12 years in undeniable and we know his quality. Whether he’s going to stay or leave, we will see at the end of the preseason.”

According to a report in the Sun (so take it with a grain of salt, at best), and picked up by the Daily Mirror, Chelsea are shockingly interested in acquiring the 2014 England #1 who couldn’t land a place in this summer’s Three Lions squad. Stamford Bridge, reportedly, might  acquire him for just £5 million.

The Blues are keen on Joe Hart because he would be such a cost effective replacement for Thibaut Courtois, who is looking likely to bolt for Real Madrid. 

Chelsea will likely be receiving a lot less money than what you might expect for a keeper of Courtois’ quality (at least according to multiple reports that claim the transfer fee will be somewhere in the £30 millions), and thus a really cheap replacement option looks very attractive right now.

Hart makes £100,000 a week with City, but he would take a pay cut to go somewhere that promises first team football. He also would not have a problem going overseas if necessary be a starting XI regular.

“There’s no league that I’d say no to,” Hart said in the mixed zone at Chicago’s Soldier Field after City’s defeat last night.

“I’m open, but I need to do what’s right for me because I need to be involved in something I believe in.”

joe hart

“I did what I did in the previous two seasons because I needed to play to be involved in the World Cup.”

“And look where that got me. I need to be an important player at that club and I think that can only happen with a permanent move.”

It’s not just one tabloid publication, but also the book makers who believe Chelsea will be the Joe Hart landing spot. The Daily Star has a slideshow featuring the top contenders to sign him, according to Sky Bet and their odds.

Chelsea are the favorites at 3/1, Birmingham are 7/2 and Any MLS club is 9/2.

That last one, MLS, is fascinating for several reasons. Hart, at 31, is nearing the age when many European stars have crossed the pond to go play in Major League Soccer. Hart’s former England teammate, Wayne Rooney, just left Everton to play for D.C. United. Rooney is only a year older than Hart.

At 32, Rooney is the same age that Bastian Schweinsteiger was when he left Manchester United to join the Chicago Fire.

And that club might be the perfect place for Joe Hart- the same exact city where he showcased his talents and abilities last night.

chicago fire

The Fire are loaded in midfield and solid in attack but sorely lacking at the back and in need of a goalkeeper upgrade. Perhaps the timing is right, provided the Chelsea situation doesn’t work out, for Hart to move to the USA, and Chicago might be the place.

He’ll have two more chances to impress on American soil before City’s exhibition tour is complete.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Sound Cloud and YouTube. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to any and all of his.

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