If they ever made a film about Joe Hart’s life, which they might do one day, depending on what happens in the rest of it, this season would be the hard-hitting narrative segment about two thirds of the way through where it looks like he’s going to lose everything, highlighted by a montage (soundtrack: Elton John, Candle in the Wind – the Diana version) in which England’s number on goes jogging in the rain, drops his chips on the floor, gets thrown out of a bar at closing time in downtown Turin and cries in his dog’s arms.
It’s a tough watch, but don’t worry, because there is light at the end of the tunnel for our hero, and it’s shining out of the back page of today’s Mail on Sunday: Hart is going to be rescued from his existential crisis by Real Madrid!
If you think that twist sounds a bit far-fetched, then you’d be thinking right, because no one is actually suggesting Hart will sign for the Bernabeu giants. Even Hollywood wouldn’t swallow that.
Rather, the Mail explains that Real will indirectly rescue Hart by signing either Manchester United’s David de Gea or Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois this summer, after which the team that loses its goalkeeper will sign Hart as a replacement for a fee of “around £25m”.
Either way, it’s more glamorous than another season on loan at Torino, so the important thing is that Hart is BACK.
Or is he? Because the Daily Star Sunday claims United aren’t actually interested in Hart at all, and have instead identified Atletico Madrid goalie Jan Oblak as the man to fill De Gea’s gloves.
Jose Mourinho is reportedly planning a £125m double swoop for the 24-year-old Slovenian and his team-mate Antoine Griezmann, who you already knew about.
Another man on Mourinho’s radar is Ross Barkley, reports the Sunday Mirror. The Everton playmaker is allegedly much admired by Mourinho, who also tried to sign him while he was manager of Chelsea two years ago, and the Toffees will sell the 23-year-old this summer unless he signs a contract extension. The question is, if they sign Barkley would United fans keep on buying the Sun?
Although if they did that, they wouldn’t see the story in the Sun on Sunday that says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has identified the two players he wants to replace Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, namely Porto forward Yacine Brahimi and Schalke playmaker Max Meyer.
The Gunners could reportedly pick up both players for a total of £50m, which possibly suggests they aren’t quite as good as Sanchez and Ozil.
Elsewhere, Tottenham will offer Dele Alli a third new contract in 16 months to ward off interest from Real Madrid (Sunday Mirror), Chelsea are prepared to let Diego Costa move to China so they can sign Alvaro Morata (Sunday Express) and Watford will replace manager Walter Mazzarri with Claudio Ranieri in the summer (Express), guaranteeing the Hornets either the league title or relegation next season.