Joe Hart will face a fight for the number one jersey at Man City as Costel Pantilimon looks like he will be staying put for at least another season.
The giant Romanian was all set to leave City this summer but with no concrete offers for him, and after meeting with new manager Manuel Pellegrini, Pantilimon will decide to see out the final year of his contract.
More options next summer
Pellegrini told Pantilimon that he was part of his plans for the new season and he expects him to compete with Hart for the number one spot to keep each other at their best.
Pantilimon only has one year left on his City deal and will have more options next summer as a free agent. He has been linked to several top flight clubs all across Europe recently, but no side have followed up their interest with bids.
Dropped for FA Cup final by Mancini
He is highly rated in the game and considers himself too good to be an understudy, even at a big club like City.
Pantilimon played in every round of City’s FA Cup run last season, conceding only one goal, but was dropped for the final by Roberto Mancini after publicly stating his desire to leave in the media just days before the game.
Mancini had previously said that Pantilimon would start the final as he had done in each of the previous rounds, and City went on to lose the match 1-0 to Wigan.
Hart was below par last season
This news will be a timely reminder to Joe Hart that he needs to be at his best every week to play for a side challenging for the big trophies. He came under criticism for some below par displays and costly errors last season as City put up a tame defence of their title.
Hart is still expected to start the new season as the number one choice, but with a new manager in charge and a more than capable deputy breathing down his neck, he will have to get back to his best from day one and stay there or face a spell on the subs bench.