Joe Hart heads Manchester City exodus


Joe Hart headed a quartet of high-profile departures from Manchester City as Pep Guardiola trimmed his squad on transfer deadline day.

The England goalkeeper completed his season-long loan to Torino and was followed out of the club by striker Wilfried Bony, playmaker Samir Nasri and defender Eliaqium Mangala.

All three also left on on temporary deals until the end of the campaign – to Stoke, Sevilla and Valencia respectively.

Hart is hoping his move will guarantee first-team football after slipping to third choice following the signing of Claudio Bravo from Barcelona last week. Guardiola had already made clear Hart was behind Willy Caballero in his thoughts.

The 29-year-old was given permission to find alternative employment and Torino emerged as the most likely destination after Everton and Sevilla distanced themselves from the player and Sunderland’s reported interest was not reciprocated.

England manager Sam Allardyce then allowed Hart time away from preparations for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier in Slovakia to resolve his club future before Wednesday’s transfer deadline.

Hart, who was given a warm welcome by Torino supporters, told the Serie A side’s website, “It’s a great club, first and foremost. I’m eternally grateful to the Torino fans, for how they’ve made me feel, and I’m looking forward to a good season.”

Hart had been at City 10 years and at the centre of all their success in recent seasons, including the Premier League title wins of 2012 and 2014.

But his sudden demotion by Guardiola underlines the Spaniard’s determination to take the club in a different direction.

Bony had also found himself out of favour and hopes the move to Stoke can revive a career that has stalled since his £28million move to City from Swansea in January last year.

Due to a combination of international call-ups, injuries, illness and poor form, the Ivory Coast forward never really got going at Eastlands.

But his record at Swansea was impressive and Stoke boss Mark Hughes is hopeful of getting the best out of the player.

Hughes told the club’s website, “Bringing Wilfried in was a no-brainer for us to be perfectly honest because he knows the Premier League and has scored plenty of goals at this level.

“Eighteen months ago he was being bought for a hugely significant amount of money, so we know that we are bringing in a top-quality striker.”

Bony, who scored just 10 goals in 46 appearances for City, took part in a training match soon after completing the move.

The 27-year-old told Sky Sports News: “It is a good club with good players and I am happy to join the team. I am excited to see the team next week when I start properly.”

Nasri’s City future had seemed uncertain after Guardiola revealed he had reported for pre-season training overweight earlier in the summer.

But the 29-year-old, who had an injury-ravaged 2015-16 season, was later praised for his attitude in training and made his first appearance of the season as a late substitute in Sunday’s win over West Ham.

Guardiola said afterwards he would be happy for the Frenchman to stay and fight for his place but it seems he has now decided his immediate future lies away from England.

Sevilla have confirmed Nasri has signed for them until the end of the season.

Mangala, a £42million signing from Porto two years ago, will also play away from City this season after agreeing a deal with Valencia.