Manchester City have identified Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes – who is set to leave the Camp Nou at the end of this season – as the ideal replacement for out-of-favour England man Joe Hart, but the Premier League title favourites are not the Spanish international’s only admirers.
Despite rumours that Hart will be recalled to the Citizens’ starting line-up at Craven Cottage, Manuel Pellegrini’s opinion of England’s number one hasn’t changed.
The Shrewsbury stopper has been observing Premier League proceedings from the sidelines since his inexplicable rush out of goal led to a last-minute Fernando Torres winner in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over City at Stamford Bridge at the end of October.
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Giant Romanian Costel Pantilimon has been utilised as the blue half of Manchester’s last line of defence in their seven top-flight clashes since, but neither keeper is thought to be in Pellegrini’s long-term plans as the Chilean looks to bring in his own man between the sticks.
Valdes has racked up over 500 appearances for Los Blaugrana over the last 12 seasons and is still only 31-years-old.
It would seem fair for the 6ft former Tenerife youth to feel aggrieved by his lack of opportunities at international level, considering Barcelona have conceded fewer goals than Real Madrid – with La Roja number one Iker Casillas netminding for Los Blancos – in each of the last five La Liga campaigns.
Valdes’ has helped Barca secure six La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues and two Copa del Reys, but has stated that he’ll end his 22-year association with the club when his contract runs out at the end of this season.
City face stiff competition for the Catalan keeper’s signature, with Monaco thought to be ready to make a move.
Valdes is currently keeping schtum about where he will be playing his football in 2014/15, although he’s admitted that there are a numbers of offers for his consideration currently on the table.
Monaco are thought to be one of the clubs chasing the Spaniard, who could expect to be paid a fortune in the tax-free principality, especially considering Barca could not command a transfer fee for him.