Man City’s former Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini is thought to be ready to raid his old club for goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero after concerns about the form of England number one Joe Hart this season.
Caballero’s excellent performances in the Champions League and La Liga for Los Boquerones last term suggests he would be a superb understudy at the Etihad and would keep the pressure to perform on the 26-year-old, but suggestions that the Argentinean will be brought in to replace Hart are surely wide of the mark considering the Three Lions keeper’s stellar career so far.
With Hart in goal City have been the Premier League’s meanest defence for two seasons in a row.
Since displacing Shay Given in the Citizens’ first team three years ago – following a breakthrough loan-spell at Birmingham which saw the Midlanders climb into the top half of the Premier League – Hart has starred for the Etihad club, with City conceding the joint-least amount of goals in the top flight alongside Chelsea in 2010/11 and outright least for the past two campaigns.
The former Shrewsbury youth has won the Premier League’s golden gloves award for the most clean sheets in each of the last three seasons with 18, 17 and 18 shut-outs per term respectively.
There is little to choose between the keepers on this season’s form.
Much of the evidence for Hart’s perceived poor form emanates from the 3-2 loss at Cardiff in August, even though City’s centre-half pairing that day consisted of third-choice centre-back Joleon Lescott and defensive midfielder Javi Garcia.
Hart has only conceded one more goal than Caballero this season in their respective leagues and has kept the same number of clean sheets (3) as the Malaga man, as well as keeping the opposition off the scoresheet at Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League and in Kiev against Ukraine for England.
The 32-year-old Argentinean has never played for his country and hasn’t won anything in a decade.
League and cup winners medals procured over ten years ago at Boca Juniors are all the honours Caballero has to show for his career and although Argentina have given World Cup debuts to goalkeepers in the last three four-yearly renewals, the Malaga man has yet to make a senior appearance for his country after two Under-20 caps as a youngster.
Hart, on the other hand, has won the FA Cup and Premier League with City in the last three seasons and has now made 36 appearances for England, with the Three Lions losing just twice – against Holland and Sweden in friendlies – in 90 minutes with the 6ft 5in blonde in goal.