Claudio Bravo has joined Manchester City from Barcelona in a move that appears to move Joe Hart closer to the Etihad Stadium exit door.
Bravo flew to Manchester on Tuesday to undergo a medical, with City boss Pep Guardiola stating a deal for the Chile international was “almost done” following Wednesday’s 1-0 Champions League play-off win over Steaua Bucharest.
Confirmation of Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen moving from Ajax to Barcelona earlier on Thursday cleared the way for City to announce Bravo has agreed terms on a four-year deal for an initial fee of €18million, which could rise to €20m after add-ons.
Guardiola chose to start Willy Caballero in goal over Hart in City’s first three games of the season, with the Argentinian seemingly deemed more suitable to the manager’s belief in playing the ball out from the back – an area where the 33-year-old Bravo excels.
“I’m very proud to be joining Manchester City,” Bravo told the club’s official website. “I know the club is building something very special and I hope I can be part of many successes in the coming years.
“I have followed City’s progress in recent years and obviously know some of my new team-mates from the Copa America.
“It is not easy to leave a club like Barcelona where I had two fantastic years, but the opportunity to work with Pep Guardiola was too good to refuse.
“Now I will challenge the other great goalkeepers the club has and together I hope we can win many trophies.”
It’s that time again!
Let’s all #WelcomeClaudio to Manchester City!
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 25, 2016
Hart returned to the City line-up to face Steaua, with the progress to the Champions League group stage essentially a formality following last week’s 5-0 win in Romania for Guardiola’s men.
The home faithful showed their appreciation of Hart, the club’s longest-serving player after joining in 2006, throughout the match and the England keeper conceded afterwards it had been an emotional occasion, while acknowledging his time with City was probably drawing to a close.
“It’s a situation. We’ve got a top manager that the club has wanted for a long, long time and he’s going to have his opinion on things,” Hart told BT Sport.
“Outside of the charade and all the rubbish that has been talked, we’re going to deal with it like men and come up with a solution.”
Potential solutions do not appear to include a switch to Everton, after Ronald Koeman ruled out a move for Hart, while Guardiola is delighted to secure his ninth signing since succeeding Manuel Pellegrini as City boss.
“Claudio is a fantastic goalkeeper and an excellent addition to our squad,” he said.
“He has experience and great leadership qualities and is in the prime of his life. He is a goalkeeper I have admired for a number of years and I’m really happy he is now a City player.”
Bravo is in contention to make his City debut against West Ham on Sunday, although Barcelona have invited the two-time Copa America winner to say a formal farewell to their fans during this season.
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu tweeted: “#GraciesBravo for your professionalism at Barca. You leave with titles and all of our love. Good luck!”