Maarten Stekelenburg responds to Everton Joe Hart speculation
By Dominic Toner
Maarten Stekelenburg is aiming to be the club’s No.1 goalkeeper this season despite speculation that Joe Hart could move to Goodison Park.
The Mirror claim that Everton are keen to make Hart their first-choice goalkeeper after he has been told he can leave Manchester City.
Everton have also been installed as favourites to sign Hart by betting company Sky Bet.
Stekelenburg started in goal for Everton in the 1-1 draw against Tottenham ahead of alternative option Joel Robles and is determined to keep his starting place.
“At the moment I’m the No.1 and I plan to finish the season as No.1,” he told the Mirror. “I don’t know what else is happening but that is not in my hands. The only thing I can do is what I did today.”
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Hart, who still has three-years left on his City contract, was axed on Saturday as new manager Pep Guardiola opted for the more experienced Willy Caballero in goal for City’s 2-1 win over Sunderland.
This followed growing speculation that Guardiola wanted to replace Hart, who has been reported for some months as an Everton target.
Stekelenburg impressed against Spurs with several high quality saves including a close-range block from a Vincent Janssen effort.
The Dutch shot stopper made 25 appearances for Southampton last season, and Koeman decided to bring the player with him Goodison Park.
Koeman is not convinced Robles is up to the task of being Everton’s No.1 stopper while veteran first-choice Tim Howard has returned to America to see out the remainder of his career.
Ronald Koeman revealed after Saturday’s game against Tottenham that the Toffees are close to sealing three new signings.
It is clear that Koeman is looking to add some Premier League experience to his squad after the additions of Stekelenburg, Idrissa Gueye and Ashley Williams and Hart’s name could be the next one to add to the Dutch manager’s new-look squad.
In other Everton team news, Koeman has praised his midfield partnership after the Tottenham match.