Pep Guardiola is a man of tough decisions, and he made the toughest (and the most controversial) when he sent Manchester City legend Joe Hart on loan to Torino in Italy and brought in Claudio Bravo from Barcelona. The reason was clear: Bravo was much better with the ball at his feet than hart, and a ball playing keeper is essential in Pep's football philosophy.
Bravo also displayed immense qualities as a shot-stopper during his time in La Liga, both at Barça and his previous club, Real Sociedad. The Chile captain built a reputation as one of the most reliable goalkeepers in Europe, and even though his signing led to Hart's departure, it seemed like a smart buy at the time.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing, and now it looks pretty obvious that Bravo's signing was not the best of ideas. The 33-year-old has gone through monumental struggle to adapt to English football and became the least reliable keeper in the entire Premier League. His inability to make saves or even jump to try and stop the ball from going in reached a desperate state, and Guardiola was forced to bench Claudio for Willy Caballero.
Caballero has kept two clean sheets in three matches since taking over the duties as number one keeper, and it seems like the defense is a lot safer with the Argentine in between the posts. But Willy has been City's backup for a reason, and it's still unclear whether or not he's ready to deal with the pressure of bigger matches, especially with the Champions League knockouts fast approaching.
Ideally, Bravo would be established as one of the Premier League's best, showing his talents with his hands and his feet week after week, but that has not happened, and Claudio conceded 16 goals from the last 24 shots on target he faced before going to the bench, which is a really scary statistic.
It seems that Bravo will never regain the trust of City fans, but his manager is still a fan:
“My opinion of Claudio Bravo remains the same: he's a top player – a top goalkeeper – one of the best in the world. His history and long career speaks for itself. Football here is particular – there are more crosses and more special things – but of course he is a top, top goalkeeper. For me, there are no doubts about that."
The goalkeeper spot is still up for grabs, and we still don't know who is the owner of that position for the near future, including Monday's Premier League match against AFC Bournemouth. Even Guardiola doesn't know yet.
“I don’t know (who will play). I will decide on the day of the game. The decision I take is what I see. That is why I am here and it is what it is.”
Maybe Claudio is back. Maybe Claudio plays well. Maybe Claudio starts to show why he was signed. Maybe miracles happen. We never know.