As the season approaches there remain several holes in Arsenal’s first team squad. Most notable is the position in between the posts.
Offering Joe Hart up as the solution to Arsenal’s goal keeping woes is hardly a revolutionary idea, he is one of three main candidates being touted. Chatter linking Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer and Lyon’s Hugo Lloris with the club has faded in recent weeks.
Hart remains the best candidate for the job, by a long way.
Manuel Almunia’s decent showing (let’s not get carried away) at the Emirates Cup has demonstrated that, low and behold, he isn’t the awful ‘keeper many paint him as. That said; he isn’t as good as his contemporaries at rival outfits.
So, you’re probably wondering what the point of this article is...if we already know Hart is a outstanding young ‘keeper, and we already know Arsenal have a problem in that area, what more can be said?
Well, for starters, why haven’t Arsenal lodged a bid for his services?
Admittedly, there are plenty of reasons why the deal wouldn’t get off the ground. City clearly have no need for the money, and in any case, who in their right mind would sell a ‘keeper of Hart’s calibre to a main rival in the Premier League?
But then again, some of City’s transfer activity this summer seems to be a bit puzzling.
Who is to say that they wouldn’t sell Hart if an offer came their way? In theory it’s easy to say “they wouldn’t sell him”, but if £15 million was on the table, might Roberto Mancini be tempted?
Add into the equation Hart’s recent comments to the BBC, and things gradually become less black and white.
"All I want is to play in the Man City first team - but if I wasn't I'd have to reconsider," he told BBC Sport.
"(Sitting on the bench) doesn't interest me. All I want to do is play in the first team," added Hart, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live.
"I've based my summer around getting in the first team," he continued. "Shay has recovered from his shoulder injury and we are both fit and raring to go and we both want that place."
"It is so different playing for the reserves. I want to be in the limelight, playing for the first team," he concluded.
Do these seem like the words of the man who would graciously accept his place on the bench? Hart’s star is rising, and being third choice for England behind a woeful Robert Green at this summer’s World Cup must have put things into perspective.
He needs to be performing at the highest level as the undisputed first choice at a top class club. Arsenal are a club that present Hart with the perfect opportunity.
Hart is at a critical point in his career, and Arsene Wenger should seize the opportunity to bring him to the Emirates. He may well come at a premium, but it would be a price well worth paying in the long-term.
If it doesn’t work out, we could just do what we should have done years ago...buy Shay Given.