English Premiership

Hart to heart talks due over ex-City No 1 'keeper's future

2018-05-13 13:22
Joe Hart (Getty Images)

Manchester - Joe Hart is poised to return to Manchester City for talks about his future in a week which promises to have a major impact on the England goalkeeper's career.

City manager Pep Guardiola, whose first act when he arrived in the summer of 2016 was to displace the popular and long-serving 'keeper, has revealed there have been no developments over Hart's status.

Having spent last season on loan in Italy with Torino, Hart moved to West Ham on a similar temporary arrangement for this campaign, but reports have claimed the Hammers do not wish to activate their option to make his signing permanent.

Hart will also learn his international fate on Wednesday, with England manager Gareth Southgate set to name his squad for the Soccer World Cup in Russia.

But the 31-year-old, who played over 300 games in a decade with City, will also want to clarify his club career with a year still remaining on his current contract with the Premier League champions.

"No," said Guardiola when asked if a decision has been made over Hart's next move.

"He's going to come back here and, I think his manager (agent) is going to speak with the club and they're going to decide."

Reports from Scotland have suggested Celtic are interested in signing Hart although, with the player only having one season left under contract and with his stock having fallen this season, City's hopes of demanding a sizeable fee look slim.

One City player certain to be named in Southgate's squad is right-back Kyle Walker, one of the stand-out performers in Guardiola's title-winning squad.

The 27-year-old has been vindicated in his decision to leave Tottenham last summer, having won the first major silverware of his career with City, although the demanding Guardiola says Walker still has room for considerable improvement next season.

"We are, all of us, so satisfied with his level," said Guardiola.

"We spoke with him many times.

"It's similar to when we speak with Raz (Raheem Sterling) and Leroy (Sane). He still has a big gap to improve - his style, his way to play, his focus in the game.

"Hopefully we can help him have a target for the next season and try to help him to be a better player next season."

Walker, who did not come cheaply having cost City a fee that could rise to £52 million with performance-related bonus clauses, arguably cost City the double as his error in their FA Cup fifth round tie with third tier Wigan allowed in Will Grigg to net the winner.

"He needs to improve his accuracy with the ball, the simple things, the simple passes," said Guardiola.

"I see sometimes he'll lose the ball. He can be focused on what he needs to do for 90 minutes, sometimes he has high, high moments and then after that can be a little bit low.

"Like any defender, he has to maintain a seven or eight (out of 10) all the time. It always depends on being focused on what you have to do and it doesn't matter what happens during the game. And he can do it."

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