Saturday, August 19, 2017

Manchester City outcast Hart joins West Ham on loan

SoccerNews in English Premier League 18 Jul 2017

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England goalkeeper Joe Hart has joined West Ham on a season-long loan from Manchester City.

Hart is under contract until 2019 at City, who he joined from Shrewsbury Town in 2006, but the 30-year-old has fallen dramatically out of the first-team picture since Pep Guardiola’s arrival as manager at the Etihad Stadium last year.

West Ham are understood to hold an option to make Hart’s move permanent at the end of 2017-18.

He joins long-time City colleague Pablo Zabaleta at London Stadium after the Argentina right-back joined on a free transfer.

“It’s important for me to play football and to get the opportunity to come here and play is absolutely awesome,” Hart told West Ham TV. “To be playing in the Premier League for a big club like West Ham, I’m really looking forward to the season.

“I’ve always loved the club. I think you’ll struggle to find anyone, apart from the direct opposing fans around London, who doesn’t love the club. It’s got something about it, it’s got a lot of history and I’ve always loved playing against West Ham.

“We’ve moved into London Stadium and we’ve got Slaven [Bilic] in charge, who I’ve spoken to and I’ve always enjoyed as a manager. He obviously did a good job with Croatia and he’s doing a good job here, so to get the opportunity to come here, it wasn’t really a hard decision.”

“Guardiola placed Hart below Willy Caballero in the pecking order at the start of last season and the signing of Claudio Bravo from Barcelona prompted a loan move for City’s long-serving number one to Serie A side Torino.

Hart quickly established himself as a favourite with the Torino fans last term, but endured mixed form, making five errors that led directly to goals.

Bravo’s erratic showings during his debut Premier League campaign and Caballero’s release at the end of his contract – the experienced Argentine subsequently signed for Chelsea – did nothing to offer a route back for Hart, with City signing Ederson from Benfica for £35million in June.

“It was a fun year and I did enjoy being part of Serie A and part of Torino, but I’m ready to come back and looking forward to being part of this fantastic league again,” Hart added.

Capped 71 times by England, Hart has retained his position as first-choice for the Three Lions, but faces the prospect of a renewed challenge for his jersey from Everton’s big-money signing Jordan Pickford and fit-again Stoke City keeper Jack Butland.

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