Belfast Telegraph

Hart signs new City contract

Joe Hart has committed his future to Manchester City by signing a new contract which will keep him at the club until 2019.

The England goalkeeper becomes the latest City player to extend his stay at the Etihad Stadium, following the likes of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Aleksandar Kolarov, Samir Nasri and David Silva.

The 27-year-old told the club's official website: "I'm really happy, I've been here a long time now and I want to keep that going."

Hart, a former Shrewsbury trainee, joined City in a £600,000 deal in 2006.

He made his breakthrough as a senior player during a loan spell at Birmingham in 2009-10 and returned to City to supplant Shay Given as first choice the following season.

He has since helped City win two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and Capital One Cup.

Hart said: "The new deal means I get to stay longer - the club's doing amazing things at the moment, we've created history and we want to keep doing that.

"Wanting to stay here was never going to be an issue for me - I've loved every moment since I joined.

"The club's growing and I've been really lucky to be part of the ride.

"I just want to keep winning with the team and keep developing. A lot of the boys have signed long-term deals, so we're building as a squad and I think that quite a few of us have been here for a long time now.

"We're enjoying building that winning mentality, how the club is growing is around us and how we need to grow along with it."

Confirmation of Hart's deal had been expected since manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed an agreement was close a fortnight ago.

Hart has re-established himself as City's number one over the past year after being dropped by Pellegrini for a short spell following a series of errors in the autumn of 2013.

That decision by Pellegrini now looks to have been justified with Hart's form this season - particularly after the signing of new back-up keeper in Willy Caballero in the summer - having been impressive.

Pellegrini is confident England midfielder James Milner will soon follow Hart in committing to the champions.

There were reports this week claiming that talks between the club and the 28-year-old's representatives, thought to be nearing a conclusion, had stalled.

But asked if he expected Milner to stay, Pellegrini said at a press conference: "I think so. There are some differences that can be arranged.

"We are talking with James. It is not easy for all the players to sign a new contract. There are a lot of things to talk, to decide, discuss. I hope finally James will sign his contract.

"The same as with Joe Hart - he wants to stay and the club wants to keep him."

Milner, 28, is in the final season of his current deal and would be free to talk to other clubs from next month.

His future became the subject of speculation due to his limited action last season but his prominent role this term - featuring in all but two matches - has changed the picture.

The other major contract speculation at the Etihad Stadium at present concerns Frank Lampard's loan from sister club New York City, which is due to expire at the end of the month.

Pellegrini hopes to keep the influential 36-year-old until the end of the season and also claimed last week that Lampard wanted to stay longer.

It might be that Pellegrini has to settle for a shorter arrangement - for an extra month or two - but no decisions have yet been made.

Pellegrini said: "It is not just our decision. If you ask me if I want Frank to stay, of course. He is a very important player for our squad and he is playing very well, as the top player he is.

"Maybe in the next days we will be sure but I cannot be 100 per cent at this moment."

Pellegrini's most immediate concern is overcoming the absence of his captain Vincent Kompany and all three of his frontline strikers for the visit of Crystal Palace in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.

Kompany suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury in his comeback match at Leicester last week while forward Edin Dzeko hurt his calf in the warm-up. Frontmen Sergio Aguero and Stevan Jovetic were already sidelined.

The lack of forward options could mean another opportunity for 18-year-old Jose Angel Pozo or a change of system to utilise a midfielder such as Milner, David Silva or Samir Nasri in an advanced position.

Pellegrini said: "The strikers, the three of them are out for tomorrow. We will try to play in another way.

"I know that we play against a team that defend very well also so we will see what is the best solution to play without them."

Victory for City by four goals or more would take them to the top of the table ahead of current leaders Chelsea's trip to Stoke on Monday.

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