It’s official. One day after reports emerged that Joe Hart was close to signing with Tottenham Hotspur as a free agent after being released by Burnley, the club announced his signing on social media today. He becomes the club’s second first team signing after the completion of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg last week.
We even get a hype video!
According to Charlie Eccleshire in the Athletic (£), Hart’s deal is a two year one that would keep him in Spurs colors until he’s 35 years old. Financially, it’s a great deal for Spurs — if you believe that Hart is still a solid enough keeper, Spurs are getting one with a lot of experience, two Premier League titles, and a bunch of international caps for England for zero transfer fee and just £35k/wk in wages, a sizable cut from his previous £50k salary.
A lot of fans have wondered why the club would be interested, but according to Charlie Eccleshire, the deal has as much to do with Hart’s mentality as it does his command between the posts.
Hart’s character is understood to be a major reason why Tottenham are making the signing. Mourinho has been impressed with his attitude in the contact they’ve had and considered signing Hart in 2017 while Manchester United manager.
Within the squad, former England team-mates Dele Alli and Harry Kane are close friends of his, and also big admirers of his personality and strength of character. Despite the savaging his reputation has taken over the last few years, Hart remains a popular and well-respected figure in English football circles. And as well as Dele and Kane, it’s expected the younger players in the squad especially will look up to someone with his pedigree and experience of elite-level football.
And if you read that and think “Hmm that sounds an awful lot like the type of player Jose Mourinho would like,” well, you’ve probably hit the nail square on the head. Here’s the Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick, basically corroborating that theory.
#thfc In different circumstances, a potentially disruptive influence in the dressing room might be problematic. But that's seeming exactly what Mourinho wants, someone outspoken and not necessarily so "nice".— Dan Kilpatrick (@Dan_KP) August 18, 2020
In fact, you could even make the observation that Mourinho’s career path has essentially been a mirror to Joe Hart’s over the past few years, and both manager and third-string keeper are trying to walk a path to redemption. A psychologist might have something to say about that in the context of this signing.
It’s certainly true that Hart brings a wealth of experience with him to north London. The implication is that he’s not content to just be a third string keeper but will also try and compete with Paulo Gazzaniga to be Hugo Lloris’ primary backup. Hart is also English and helps with the Premier League and European competition homegrown player cap, and those aren’t things you just turn your nose up at, to be fair.
I’m not exactly a FAN of this signing, but it’s not a bad deal for the price. And if Hart can turn things around, it could prove to be an astute short-term signing, even if it does little to bridge any perceived gap between the Hugo Lloris era and whatever might come next.
Welcome to Tottenham, Joe Hart.