In a race to the bottom of Pep Guardiola’s estimations it appears deposed Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart would have the pace to rival Usain Bolt.
So drastically has the England number one’s stock plummeted since the Spaniard’s arrival at the Etihad that he will find himself the club’s third-choice stopper if, as expected, Claudio Bravo completes his move from Barcelona to the north west.
It’s anticipated that Guardiola will name a much-changed side when City bid to justify match odds of just 9/50 in their Champions League play-off round second-leg match against Steaua Bucharest, yet their hitherto number one is still not expected to feature.
Hart’s stature within the fraternity of custodians dictates that he is unlikely to wish spend even a second playing the role virtually-invisible underunderstudy Richard Wright had made his own prior to Pep’s arrival.
Unfortunately for the 29-year-old shampoo shiller, a glance down last season’s Premier League table doesn’t reveal a side likely to be interested in his services until 11th-placed Everton, 10/1 joint-seventh in the top-four betting this term, at the earliest.
Champions Leicester have just tied down Kasper Schmeichel until 2021 with a new deal, while Arsenal and Tottenham have firmly-ensconced and respected number ones in Petr Cech and Hugo Lloris.
Manchester United’s nets are minded by a goalkeeper Real Madrid have the long-term hots for, Southampton boast the City man’s closest England rival and West Ham are unlikely to see Hart as a significant upgrade on the ever-reliable and underrated Adrian.
Liverpool have already signed Loris Karius to assume the reins from their under-fire incumbent Simon Mignolet as soon as he recovers from the hand injury he suffered in pre-season.
Stoke will soon welcome back England goalie-in-waiting Jack Butland from a mishap of his own, while Chelsea have both the titanic Thibaut Courtois and rock-solid Asmir Begovic on their books.
Everton are the highest 2015/16 top-flight finisher for which a plausible case to sign Hart can be made.
Ronald Koeman has already brought Maarten Stekelenburg with him from Southampton, but the Toffees continued market moves after that deal was completed, notably in pursuit of the Blues’ Begovic, suggest the Dutchman was never supposed to be more than a stopgap.
Koeman dropped the former Ajax keeper as soon as Forster was mobile again after a long-term injury at Saint Mary’s last season, making it evident that Stekelenburg is not his idea of a first-choice number one.
The Goodison Park club have invested significantly in players this summer and look both an upwardly-mobile club and easily Hart’s best option should he decide, like so many Englishmen before him, to stay in the domestic game rather than chance his arm in another European league.