Manuel Neuer has now emerged as one of the dream targets on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City transfer wish-list which plunges Joe Hart’s long-term future into doubt.
Guardiola has already planned a major squad overhaul when he takes charge at Etihad this summer.
A ‘sweeper-keeper’ in the team who is brilliant with his feet is a key part of his philosophy, and the highly rated Spaniard is desperate to have one as his last line of defence at Manchester City, according to a report from Daily Mirror.
This could certainly spell bad news for England’s no.1 Joe Hart if the new manager feels he doesn’t fit the bill, as Neuer, Guardiola’s current Bayern Munich goalkeeper, certainly does.
The Bayern stopper would be the Guardiola’s top priority target if he decides to bring in a new keeper, and it is believed City are also keeping a close eye on the German’s situation at Bayern.
The 29-year-old keeper still has three years left in his current deal, but initial discussions have already been held to improve the contract.
Neuer is said to be looking for a hefty pay-rise which would see his wages increase to around a staggering £300,000-per-week. It is almost double what Bayern’s current top-earners get.
If the German giants fail to negotiate, Big-spending City could meet such huge wage demands, but persuading Bayern Munich hierarchy to let go their star performer would be the biggest hurdle.
If Etihad hierarchy can’t sign Neuer and Hart is not able to convince Guardiola that he has what it takes to play as per the Spaniard’s tactics, the former Barca boss is ready to search elsewhere.
Hart is well established as Manchester City’s no 1 and is always been an influential figure in their dressing room, so replacing him would be a big risk decision for Guardiola to make so soon after taking over from Pellegrini.
The 28-year-old Englishman is not the only one facing an anxious wait to see if he fits into Guardiola’s future plans.
Midfield pair Yaya Toure and Fernando and striker Wilfried Bony’s futures are also not so certain following City’s decision to appoint Guardiola to succeed Manuel Pellegrini.
It was Hart who was the centre of attention in City’s latest defeat to Liverpool. However, while Willy Caballero was the hero for Manuel Pellegrini’s team at Wembley, Joe Hart, taking over between the sticks, had a night to forget.
His humiliation came in just after Liverpool’s third goal, when he was left looking bewildered, angry and also confused as he tried to get the ball back from a grinning Roberto Firmino.
The Brazilian actually stuffed the ball up his shirt when celebrating and then bamboozled the stopper by seemingly making it disappear, much to the delight of the football humourists.