As Claudio Bravo arrives and Joe Hart departs spare a thought for Willy Caballero. The Spaniard has been subjected to some unwarranted criticism since Guardiola took over at City.
This isn’t to say that Willy is the greatest keeper on the planet, or even to suggest he should remain as Man City’s number one. What this is…is a critique of the pro-Hart pundits who have been indirectly making digs at Caballero since Joe fell out of favour.
Willy probably didn’t join City expecting to be number one. He hasn’t ever claimed to be more talented on the ground than Hart. His peak years as a goalkeeper were probably spent in Spain during the late 00’s. Sure he has had a couple of questionable outings in baby blue, but he also was the shoot-out hero in the Capital One Cup Final. Nial Quinn et al were forced to eat their words that afternoon.
Caballero hasn’t really put a foot wrong this season…well maybe there’s been a few questionable passes. But ultimately he’s been a safe pair of hands, and that’s what you want from your number two.
It would’ve been a waist to put Hart in for the opening games if Guardiola was just going to get rid of him. Especially if he’d pulled off some spectacular saves. That’d only given the pundits more ammunition, and Guardiola an even bigger headache.
The fact is Guardiola wants something Joe Hart cannot offer. This could be a technical problem, but it could also be personal. Guardiola has a track record of getting rid of elite performers who don’t fit the philosophy (Eto, Deco, Ronaldinho). The truth is we just don’t know, and I don’t suppose Pep is going to tell us.
What we do know is that Willy has been the consumate professional throughout the Hart saga. Above anything he seems like a top bloke. I believe the England-centric pundits owe him an apology.