New deal imminent for Hart

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Published: Friday 5th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart is poised to sign a new contract with the Barclays Premier League champions.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini has hinted the England number one is ready to commit himself to the club and fresh terms could even be finalised within the next day.

Hart, 27, has reportedly been in discussions with the club over a possible new five-year deal since the summer. His present contract, worth a reported £80,000 per week, is due to expire in the summer of 2016.

The former Shrewsbury trainee has been in fine form this season, underlining his status as first choice for club and country after a spell out of Pellegrini’s side last year.

Pellegrini, speaking on Friday at a press conference to preview Saturday’s home clash with Everton, said: “I always said it is important for this club to keep Joe with us.

“He is a very good goalkeeper and not only a very good goalkeeper, he is a very important player for the squad also. So – maybe – in the next day you will have good news.”

Asked if that meant within 24 hours, Pellegrini said: “I can’t say exactly the amount of hours, but the next day.”

Hart has recovered well after a testing spell a year ago.

He was axed by Pellegrini in favour of then number two Costel Pantilimon in October 2013 after a series of high-profile mistakes. He did not regain his place until December and even then continued to sit out domestic cup games.

He went on to finish the season well, but Pellegrini still decided to increase the competition for his place by signing a new goalkeeper in Willy Caballero from his old club Malaga in the summer.

Hart has responded to the challenge from the Argentinian by producing some fine displays and Pellegrini is pleased with the current situation.

The Chilean said: “Joe is having a very good season. The arrival of Willy Caballero was very important for the club, for Joe, for Willy, for everyone – because he is a very good goalkeeper.

“I think the best way for players to have high performance is when they have important competition. I think that was very useful for him and I am very happy about that.”

City will be without their influential captain, Vincent Kompany, for the visit of Everton.

The Belgian missed the midweek trip to Sunderland with a hamstring injury and is facing a battle to be fit for next week’s decisive Champions League trip to Roma.

It is merely the latest of a long series of muscular injuries to have affected the 28-year-old in recent seasons.

He missed the draw at QPR and an international last month with a calf problem and had spells out last season with a thigh and groin injuries.

Pellegrini accepts that problems will occur because of the ferocity with which Kompany plays, but is hopeful issues can be controlled.

He said: “Vincent, maybe in the way he plays, is more exposed to having injuries because he plays always with 100 per cent intensity and he works every day in the same way.

“But we hope for the same that happened last season – he will manage those injuries. They are important injuries but not very long injuries.”

Published: Friday 5th December 2014 by The News Editor

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