Joe Hart has ended his 12-year stay at Manchester City after signing for Burnley, who now boast three England goalkeepers on their books.
Hart, who has agreed a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee thought to be no more than £4million, has been looking for a permanent club after season-long loans at Torino and West Ham. The Clarets emerged as an unexpected destination after injuries to Nick Pope and Tom Heaton.
Manager Sean Dyche decided to enter the market with Pope facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after dislocating his shoulder in the Europa League qualifier at Aberdeen and Heaton returning to fitness after a calf strain.
Hart has known he had no future at the Etihad Stadium, where he played a key role in two Premier League title wins and three cup successes over the course of 348 appearances, ever since Pep Guardiola’s arrival as manager.
The 31-year-old’s situation became even more stark when he was axed by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate on the eve of this summer’s World Cup, with Pope beating him to a place in the final 23 and Heaton named on standby.
Hart has not given up hope of adding to his 75 England caps, and starting the season in the starting XI of a side who finished seventh in the league last season and have a chance of reaching the Europa League group stages is a good place to start. He will wear number 20 at Turf Moor, where his drastically reduced wage has reportedly been topped up by a pay-off from City.
His departure was marked with warm words from his former employers, who have promised supporters the chance to show their appreciation at a “formal tribute” in the autumn.
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak led the praise in a statement which read: “Joe Hart’s contribution to Manchester City cannot be overstated.
“His 12 years at the club have seen him produce some remarkable performances and heart-stopping saves that will live in the memory for a long time to come. His passion for and commitment to this Club, evidenced by a remarkable tally of 348 appearances, means he will rightly be regarded as a City legend in perpetuity.
“I want to personally thank him for everything he has given to us over very many years and he leaves with Sheikh Mansour’s and my heartfelt best wishes for the next step in his career. He will always be welcome at the club.”
City captain Vincent Kompany also offered a glowing reference.
“Joe joined as a young lad from Shrewsbury and leaves a City legend,” said the Belgian.
“When you look at the club he joined and the club as it is now, we have come so far during his time in Manchester and Joe has been a huge part of that.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure to play alongside him for so many years and I know I speak on behalf of every City fan when I say I hope he means as much to his next club as he has meant to us.”News Now - Sport News