Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was present at Torino’s match against Fiorentina this past Sunday and his attendance has triggered off rumours about a possible move for Manchester City outcast Joe Hart to Chelsea.
Upon his arrival, Pep Guardiola made it glaringly obvious that Hart was excess to his requirements, choosing to play Willy Caballero over the English keeper in the first few weeks of his tenure with the Citizens.
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Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was signed and Hart was dispatched on loan to Serie A club Torino, where he has quickly become a fan favourite. He made some crucial saves last month and kept two consecutive clean sheets inspiring supporters to hold up a banner with his name on it.
But now, it seems like Hart’s tryst with the Serie A is set to be cut short with Conte exhibiting interest in the keeper. The Chelsea manager was in the stands during Torino’s 2-1 victory over Fiorentina and could be scouting Hart as a replacement for first choice Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois.
Courtois’ performance was shaky and uncertain last season, which also included two red cards, and he continues to seem unsettled at Chelsea under new leadership.
Doubts were raised about his commitment to Chelsea when, after their defeat to Liverpool, he said: “I feel half Spanish. When I said goodbye I had a bad time. I had cold blood, it was not easy. I cried. Atletico is a family club. I still feel their love.”
Following his comments, there has been a lot of speculation about how long Courtois will remain at Chelsea and Conte may be planning for the eventual exit of the big Belgian. The current Chelsea No.1 spent three seasons with Atletico Madrid and has attracted interest, not just from his former club, but their city rivals Real Madrid too.
Conte is currently in the midst of a squad shake-up and could be thinking of bringing Hart on board in January. He has had several meetings with Roman Abramovich since Chelsea’s defeat to Liverpool and Arsenal about more funding and some of that money could be allocated to sign England’s number one keeper.
The Italian seemed willing to work with the players already at Chelsea once he arrived, but a recent decline in form may force the Italian to sideline players like Gary Cahill, Nemanja Matic, Oscar, Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic.