West Ham have confirmed the signing of England goalkeeper Joe Hart from Manchester City on a season-long loan.
The 30-year-old’s arrival also represents his return to English football after he spent the past season with Torino in Serie A.
Hart was dropped by City after Pep Guardiola’s appointment as manager but, after an uncertain period and growing pressure on his position with England, he has been lured to London in the pursuit of first-team football. We still aren’t impressed by the Hammers’ summer business.
Neither Adrian nor Darren Randolph convinced for West Ham during the 2016/17 season, and Hart told his new club’s official website: “It’s important for me to play football and to get the opportunity to come here and play is absolutely awesome.
“To be playing in the Premier League for a big club like West Ham, I’m really looking forward to the season.
“I’ve always loved the club. I think you’ll struggle to find anyone, apart from the direct opposing fans around London, who doesn’t love the club. It’s got something about it, it’s got a lot history and I’ve always loved playing against West Ham.”
West Ham’s manager Slaven Bilic was similarly scrutinised during a disappointing year in which they fought to avoid relegation, but Hart is relishing working with him as much as he is returning to the Premier League.
He could also yet face his parent club in a pre-season friendly in Iceland on August 4, but will be ineligible against them in competitive fixtures.
“We’ve moved into London Stadium and we’ve got Slaven in charge who I’ve spoken to and I’ve always enjoyed as a manager,” Hart said.
“He obviously did a good job with Croatia and he’s doing a good job here, so to get the opportunity to come here, it wasn’t really a hard decision.
“It was a fun year and I did enjoy being part of Serie A and part of Torino, but I’m ready to come back and looking forward to being part of this fantastic league again.
“I’d like to think I’ve obviously left Manchester City on loan this season, but the club as a whole, especially the supporters, have always been fantastic to me. I’d never change how I feel about that club, as it’ll always be a very special club to me.
“It’ll be fun to play against them because I’ll be banned when it comes to the actual season, while I’m sure Manchester United will welcome me with open arms if I get the nod and start the season away at Old Trafford (on August 13).”
It is understood that no clause is in place for the transfer to become permanent, and that the London club will be paying his £4.5million salary via a structured deal with City that preserves their existing wage structure.
West Ham are to pay Hart £2.5million in wages, and a £2million loan fee to City, which will then be paid by the parent club to Hart to cover his contract for the coming season.