Trying to Work Out What on Earth Has Happened to Joe Hart

While Arsenal have pulled out all the stops to tie down the likes of Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari to long-term deals as well as offering a new contract to David Luiz, Burnley haven't been quite as active.

Premier League clubs were given until 23 June to get players whose deals are due to expire at the end of June to sign short-term contracts until the end of the 2019/20 season.

One player who will be a free agent come July is Joe Hart, with Burnley now confirming on their official website that they won't be offering him a deal to extend his stay at Turf Moor beyond the end of June.

It's bad enough that Hart isn't being offered a new deal, but to not even get him to sign a short-term extension?

Once regarded as one of the best goalkeepers around, the 33-year-old is now being (unconvincingly) linked with a whole host of clubs - ranging from Shrewsbury Town to Arsenal.

This is a goalkeeper who won the Premier League Golden Glove award three years in a row, from 2010/11 to 2012/13. He also won the same award in 2014/15.

Over the years, Hart has produced a number of world class performances to keep his side in games - but there are a few specific displays which spring to mind instantly. Hart was in inspired form to help his Manchester City side cling on to a 0-0 draw with Tottenham back in 2010. Flying saves, commanding his box and continuing to sniff out danger, the then-England number one was able to keep out an attacking Spurs side.

Joe Hart was outstanding against Tottenham in 2010

There was also the performance against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in 2012. Yes, he wasn't able to keep a clean sheet on this occasion, but his stunning saves throughout the game kept his side in the contest. Dortmund should have been out of sight, but thanks to Hart, City were able to stay in contention and were able to net a late equaliser.

Sure, the performances against Spurs and Dortmund were of a very high standard - but they just don't quite compare to his breathtaking showing at Camp Nou in 2015 against Barcelona. In fact, it was so good that Lionel Messi came out after the game and labelled him a 'phenomenon'. The Argentine doesn't dish out praise like that very often.

Barça ran out 1-0 winners in their Champions League tie to knock City out of the competition - but it could and should have been much worse for the Sky Blues. To contextualise his performance against Barcelona - Hart made ten saves in total, with five of the ten shots saved coming from inside the area.

Joe Hart received major praise from Lionel Messi for his display against Barcelona

Not only that, the Englishman made one-on-one saves from Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez three times each.

He was that good.

The arrogance and the shouting - on his day, Hart was a commanding presence inside his own box who would force attackers into mistakes. But the key phrase being 'on his day'.

Hart has always been a player that requires confidence in order to operate at the peak of his powers. This is reaffirmed by the fact that, in between the 2012/13 and 2014/15 seasons, his form majorly dipped during the 2013/14 season. In fact, he was replaced by Costel Pantilimon between the sticks for a month that term because of his mistakes.

Joe Hart has shown his quality over the years

When considering where it went wrong for Hart, it's clear to see that the confidence continued to be zapped out of him time and time again, eventually reaching the point that he's at today.

Of course, his exit from Man City played a major role, with Pep Guardiola deeming him not good enough. Footballing fans question why Hart could be so badly impacted by just one manager's thoughts, yet this isn't just any manager. Guardiola is considered to be one of the best managers of all time, therefore his perception will have carried extra weight.

But while this was the case, Pep's first impressions of Hart wouldn't exactly have been fantastic as he witnessed the keeper make a number of pivotal mistakes at Euro 2016. Teammate Raheem Sterling also came in for criticism for his showing at the Euros that year, but Guardiola is said to have reached out to reassure him - but there was no such luxury for Hart.

Pep Guardiola was keen to bring in a replacement

After Claudio Bravo's arrival, Hart was shipped out on loan to Torino - a chance to start fresh and prove his worth after a disastrous summer. But when questioned on whether Hart could return to City the following season, Guardiola chose not to answer the question and instead praise Willy Caballero and Bravo.

A rather unsuccessful loan at West Ham followed. Conceding ten goals in his first three games wasn't exactly the best start for Hart, and immediately, the pressure began to mount again. He was later dropped, and only went on to start just 19 league games in 2017/18 in total.

For a player who thrives on confidence, Hart's form was at an all-time low. When he finally left City for good the following summer, it appeared as though cutting ties was the best thing for the goalkeeper to help him rediscover his form from previous seasons.

Joe Hart never really discovered his best form

Fast forward to the present day, however, and it's clear to see that it really hasn't worked out. At all.

Hart made just 24 appearances for Burnley, with just three of those appearances coming this season, and he has conceded 48 goals in this time. Now having been allowed to leave for free by Burnley, Hart is going in search of somewhere he can begin to enjoy his football again.

It's easy to question what on earth has happened to Hart, but the truth is, there have been a number of very simple factors which have combined together to continually knock him down.

Once considered one of the very best around, Hart's confidence has been knocked to such an extent where he will now be looking to join a club for free. The importance of confidence, especially to a goalkeeper, should not be underestimated - one only needs to look as far as David de Gea to see that. But for Hart, when considering his chest pumps, his shouting during games and general efforts to keep himself fired up, it has been clear to see that he has thrived on it.

As a result, the combination of high-profile mistakes, Guardiola's lack of faith and a lack of clarity with regards to his long-term future, have all culminated in Hart reaching the stage he is at now. The issue of who will be willing and is able to sign Hart still remains to be seen.

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Source : 90min