The Mirror claims Joe Hart’s very public dumping from Manchester City was hastened by Pep Guardiola’s first impressions of 20-year-old goalkeeper Angus Gunn, who the red top believes will take over from Willy Caballero as new number one Claudio Bravo’s backup from next season.
Gunn, whose father Bryan spent 12 years in goal for Norwich and managed the Canries for most of 2009, played against Borussia Dortmund and Guardiola’s old club Bayern Munich in pre-season, when the football world largely believed Hart was merely on a hiatus following his Euro 2016 exertions.
If The Mirror’s claims are true, we’re left with the odd situation of England’s number one goalkeeper, set to start new manager Sam Allardyce’s first match in charge of the Three Lions, being pushed out of his club partially because of a youngster yet to make an appearance for Gareth Southgate’s U21s.
His progress is set to accelerate should the ‘City insider’ prove accurate, with soon-to-be 35-year-old Caballero thought to be off at the end of this campaign and Bravo barely 18 months younger than his fellow South American.
Goalkeeping is clearly a young man’s game, with Gianluigi Buffon, Peter Cech, Manuel Neuer, Hugo Lloris, David de Gea, Thibaut Courtois and now Gianluigi Donnarumma all experiencing 30-match campaigns in a top European league before their 22nd birthdays.
The 20-year-old isn’t likely to have it all his own way though, as City appear to have another Bravo-in-training at La Liga side Real Sociedad.
Geronimo Rulli was bought from Uruguayan outfit Deportivo Maldonado during the summer and loaned to the Basque country club, where the 24-year-old has spent the past two campaigns on loan.
Rulli earned call-ups to Argentina’s squad twice in the past 18 months following fine form in La Liga, where the 6ft 2in stopper’s passing stats have been consistently better than Bravo managed during the Chile internationals last three campaigns at Anoeta.
He already has one clean-sheet to his name this term, shutting out Osasuna on the road after Sociedad’s 3-0 defeat at home to Champions League winners Real Madrid on the opening weekend.
With regular football practically assured, Rulli could yet have a say over who deputises for Bravo after Caballero’s likely departure and prove himself a future rival to Gunn for the number one jersey.
Back in the present, Man City are 6/4 favourites to win the Premier League this season.