Everton manager Ronald Koeman has ruled out the Premier League club making a move for out-of-favour Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart before the end of the transfer window.
Pep Guardiola preferred Willy Caballero to Hart for his first three games in charge at City and, although Hart made a first appearance of the season in Wednesday’s Champions League play-off win over Steaua Bucharest, the expected arrival of Claudio Bravo from Barcelona appears set to push him further down the pecking order.
Everton have been reported to be among Hart’s potential suitors, with the 29-year-old having been advised by England boss Sam Allardyce this week that he should ideally attain regular first-team football to keep his place as national team number one.
But Koeman told reports at a news conference ahead of Saturday’s match against Stoke City at Goodison Park that the Merseyside ground will not represent Hart’s escape destination.
“There is no interest,” he said. “We have a game at Stoke on Saturday and that is more important than all the rumours.
“I need to prepare the team for Saturday.”
Koeman added: “Everybody is trying to improve. Us also, but I am not the type of manager to talk about players. Everybody will see what the squad is on August 31.”
Seamus Coleman (ankle) remains Everton’s only injury absentee and Koeman hopes to build on an encouraging start to his tenure.
“We already played two Premier League games. Four points out of that is positive,” he said, with the opening day draw at Tottenham having been followed by a 2-1 comeback win at West Brom last weekend.
“The victory against West Brom gave us confidence but Stoke is difficult and we have to be prepared.
“I think they are really strong. They have had a stable position in the table, they are playing good football.
“Maybe away from home you can play a little more defensively, they are a tough opponent to beat.”