Pep Guardiola keeping options open on keepers

FA Cup Fifth Round Replay

Pep Guardiola keeping options open on keepers

Pep Guardiola intends to review Manchester City’s goalkeeping situation at the end of the season — though the door appears to remain closed for England stopper Joe Hart.

Having loaned Hart out to Torino in a season-long deal earlier this term, City’s boss switched goalkeepers last month and chose Willy Caballero between the sticks after previous first-choice Claudio Bravo conceded six goals from as many shots across two games.

Bravo could return for the FA Cup fifth-round replay against Huddersfield tonight, though it is the 35-year-old Caballero, out of contract in the summer, who has started the past three Premier League games and the Champions League victory over Monaco.

Guardiola has stressed the futures of Caballero and Hart will be determined in the summer but when asked directly whether the issues he has had with the position in recent months could force him to reconsider his view on Hart, the City manager was blunt.

“I’m so happy with Willy and Claudio,” he replied.

Asked again whether Hart could be part of his plans or would need to find a new club, Guardiola said: “We are going to talk about it at the end of the season.”

Discussions with Caballero will also take place then, despite the fact he, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta, Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas will all be available on free transfers come the summer.

Guardiola insists he is in no rush to come to a resolution over those six — or whether he will be looking for a new number one for the second straight summer.

“I will decide about that at the end of the season; I trust a lot in both (Caballero and Bravo) and we’ll decide,” he said.

“Not just the goalkeepers, the midfielders, wingers, strikers, full-backs — we are going to decide at the end of the season. They have to try to keep going, to convince me every day — there are five, six players out of contract but they know the situation.

“Of course there is a risk, maybe they can sign a contract for another club and we have to accept that. But we are going to decide in the last months of the season.”

In terms of Guardiola’s own future, the Catalan revealed that City’s hierarchy had told him they hoped he would enjoy an extended tenure when he met with them at their recent Abu Dhabi warm-weather training camp.

Yet he is realistic enough to know that such an arrangement can only continue if City are challenging for multiple trophies.

“He knows and I know that it all depends on the results,” he said of his meeting with chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and owner Sheikh Mansour.

“He would like that I stay here for a long, long, long, long time. But of course it depends on the results.”

City skipper Vincent Kompany will once again miss out against the Terriers on Wednesday due to the leg injury he sustained prior to the first meeting between the two on February 18.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox