Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has emerged as a shock contender to replace David de Gea at Manchester United, report The Independent. The 30-year-old is understood to be "open" to a move to Old Trafford in order to reignite his career in England which has stalled this season.
Hart was shafted by manager Pep Guardiola at the start of the campaign and eventually forced to join Serie A side Torino on a season-long loan. Claudio Bravo arrived from Barcelona to fill the void but the Chile international has failed to impress this season.
The ex-Shrewsburg Town 'keeper has enjoyed a steady campaign in Italy, keeping five clean sheets in 31 appearances in the Italian top flight.
But he remains keen on a return to the Premier League in order to cement place in England manager Gareth Southgate's plans for the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer. Hart has been linked with a move to Liverpool, but manager Jürgen Klopp has no plans to sign him.
City are reportedly open to allowing Hart, whose wage demands stand at £150,000-a-week, to leave for £15m – fees which Torino are unable to afford. United could therefore come to his rescue should they lose De Gea to Madrid.
Marca claimed in February that Real had earmarked De Gea as their preferred candidate to replace Keylor Navas, ahead of Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois, and could bring him to the Bernabeu if they activate his £55.4m ($68.8m) release clause.
De Gea has once again been one of United's players of the season in his fifth term in English football, showings which earned him a fourth straight appearance in the PFA Team of the Year.
Only a handful of players have ever made the move directly from City to United, with Carlos Tevez and Owen Hargreaves two recent examples of individuals making the controversial move between the rivals.
Hart would become the 36th player to represent both clubs if the move to José Mourinho's side does materialise, but it is yet to be seen whether United will need to invest in a new stopper this summer.
Should United retain De Gea then Hart's return to England could come via a move to Everton, who are keen on improving their options between the sticks. Neither Maarten Stekelenburg or Joel Robles have fully convinced this term, leading manager Ronald Koeman to identify the position as one in need of strengthening in order to build on an encouraging campaign which appears destined to end with a top seven finish.