We as fans, journalists, outsiders, etc. may not know the complete inner workings of what exactly happens during the transfer of a player from one club to another. Whether the transfer is a permanent one or a loan deal does not matter. Many things will be discussed. From wages to accommodation and so on. We can only speculate.
Why Joe Hart has been loaned out to Torino in the Italian Serie A for the 2016-'17 season, we may never know. We know why he is being loaned out, but not why to Torino. This is not a player who is a youngster needing game time to come back ready for action. This is not a player who did not want to be at the club, but failed to get a permanent deal sorted out and had to settle for a loan move.
Joe Hart is one of Manchester City's greatest-ever players – a real voice and personality in the dressing room. He has been part of all their recent success. And let's be real, Manchester City have only had success in the last six years since being taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group. Before their 2011 FA Cup triumph, City's last major trophy was the 1976 League Cup title.
This club has always been in the shadow of their more illustrious neighbours – Manchester United. Till the summer of 2008, their primary ambition was to survive relegation. That is when the Abu Dhabi United Group bought City. They rose from mid-table mediocrity to top four contenders to Premier League champions in 2011-'12. Hart was part of all that.
Part of the success story
He then helped them win the Premier League and League Cup double in 2013-1'4 in one of the greatest seasons in English football. City also won the 2016 League Cup with Hart in the squad. They made their first forays in the UEFA Champions League with the Englishman as their No. 1. Last season, City reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and had to thank Hart for getting them that far.
As a City player, Hart has been voted in the Team of the Season once and won the Premier League Golden Glove award on four occasions – a joint record.
City then brought in Pep Guardiola – arguably the best current manager in football – for the 2016-'17 season. In the seven full seasons Guardiola has managed in club football, he has won six league titles, two Champions Leagues, four domestic cups and three FIFA Club World Cups. Guardiola deserves the right to mold his team as he sees fit. The Spaniard cannot be fully blamed for Hart's plight.
Style of play
Guardiola does not see Hart adapting to his style of play. A theory suggests that Guardiola wants all his 11 players to effectively be midfielders. Players need to be comfortable on the ball. They need to make important passes from any area of the pitch. Obviously, this includes the goalkeeper to be involved as well in the build-up play.
Very few goalkeepers in England can do this as they are not trained to play in this manner. In the two previous clubs Guardiola worked at, he had Victor Valdes and Manuel Neuer. The duo are extremely comfortable with the ball. At City, Guardiola decided that Hart does not fit into his system. At 29 years of age, it is highly unlikely that Hart will develop the footballing skills that Guardiola craves.
Where Guardiola is to be blamed slightly is that he allowed the situation to go on till the last day of the transfer window. He was announced to take over as City manager in February 2016. He had enough time to know what he wanted. And yet, Hart found a new club only at the end.
City and Guardiola even said that they would "find the best solution" for Hart. Is Torino really the "best solution"? With all due respect, the answer is no. Torino have a great and tragic history, but that is way in the past. The reality is that they finished 12th in the Italian Serie A last season. They are not in the Europa League for this season, let alone the Champions League.
Hart may not be in the world-class bracket for a goalkeeper. Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer and Manchester United's David de Gea are considered the best two at the moment. Then come the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Thibaut Courtois, Keylor Navas, Hugo Lloris, Petr Cech and Claudio Bravo. The latter is the one replacing Hart at City. But the Englishman is not far off from this group.
His performance in the 2014-'15 Champions League clash against Barcelona drew lavish praises from Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Luis Enrique. On his day, Hart is as good as it gets. Yes, he has made some mistakes and he had a poor Euro 2016 with England. But he is a goalkeeper who needs to be playing for a club in the Champions League.
It would have been almost impossible to find him a club in England playing in the Champions League – as that would significantly strengthen a direct rival. But what about an English club playing in the Europa League? United are out of the equation for many reasons. Southampton have Hart's England understudy in Fraser Forster. That would be detrimental.
West Ham lost a playoff match recently and failed to qualify for the group stages of the Europa League. They could have done with a Joe Hart in goal in the new London Stadium. Not many top European clubs are looking for a first-team goalkeeper, but reports suggested that Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund were interested at some point.
Hart's wages are very high for many clubs to cover on a loan basis. It is reported that he earns £185,000 per week. Torino are reportedly paying £55,000 per week for Hart's salary, while City are funding the rest of his £130,000. City were going to fund a large chunk of his salary anyway, so why not thrash out a deal quickly and resolve this before it became the main focus of their early season?
City usually conduct their deals swiftly and without any fuss. So, why for Joe Hart – one of their greatest – did it take so long? And why a club who finished 12th in the Italian Serie A the previous season? This could weaken his claims to being England's No. 1 as well.
So as fans, writers, outsiders, etc., it does not seem like Manchester City did their "best" for Joe Hart. A club legend is being pushed away.