Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola warned goalkeeping outcast Joe Hart on Friday that he is not even guaranteed a place on the bench if he fails to leave the club.
Hart, 29, is in limbo after losing his place as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper following Guardiola’s arrival and City are not reported to have received any bids for the England international.
New signing Claudio Bravo and Willy Caballero, who is due to start against West Ham United on Sunday, are both above Hart in the pecking order and Guardiola also has youngster Angus Gunn at his disposal.
“We’re going to speak about the situation in the last days. We’re going to decide the best for Joe, but for Willy and Angus as well,” Guardiola told reporters at City’s training centre.
“Of course it is not an ideal situation, but I will respect their contracts and the situation. I will be clear what will be the solution.
“If all four stay here, the best solution is for everybody to be involved in our idea. They are going to be involved in our idea.
“They are going to be in rotation, part of that. So (if) Joe, Willy and Angus stay, then it won’t be the same one who is always on the bench.
“Maybe they go into rotation to find a solution — the best for us and them. They need to play. The situation is not easy right now.”
Hart faces an inglorious end to his 10-year City career, but he was given a hero’s reception by the club’s fans when he made his first start of the season in Wednesday’s Champions League win over Steaua Bucharest.
Caballero, Hart’s deputy last season, has started City’s remaining three games this season.
Bravo completed his move from Barcelona for a reported initial fee of 13.75 million pounds ($18.2 million, 16.1 million euros) on Thursday.
– Barcelona draw ‘special’ –
Everton manager Ronald Koeman has denied reports that he is interested in signing Hart, while rumoured suitors Sevilla have completed a loan move for Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.
If Hart is to find a new club, he must do so before the transfer window closes on Wednesday.
Asked if Hart’s fellow outcasts Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony might leave the club, Guardiola replied: “Maybe they stay, maybe they go.
“After West Ham, we continue to speak and we’ll see what the situation is.”
Guardiola also responded for the first time to the Champions League draw that placed his side in the same group as Barcelona, the club he played for and managed with such distinction.
“I cannot deny this was special for me,” said Guardiola. “I grew up in Catalonia, I was 13 years old when I went to their academy, promoted to a professional player and trainer.
“I spent most of my life there. I know the people there, most of the players are still there. The emotion is there.
“It happened last season with Bayern Munich. It has happened this year and if I continue to train in the high level and we arrive in the Champions League, it is going to happen more times.
“The first time is ‘Wow.’ The second time is the second time. In the future it will be normal. Barcelona is always there and Manchester City will always be there.
“They will check (test) our level, our current level. There isn’t a better team to check our current level as a team.
“But of course it’s just the beginning. We need some time. We have to put up with that because it is the draw and we will have to face it.”