Joe Hart does not believe Manchester City will price him out a permanent exit this summer as the England goalkeeper waits to discover which teams will offer him a new home.
His popularity at the Etihad Stadium counted for little when Pep Guardiola arrived last year, as Hart’s diminished role led to a surprise season-long loan switch to Torino.
Hart has returned from Italy but does not foresee a change in his situation with City, given the club have spent Â£35million on uncapped Brazil goalkeeper Ederson after Claudio Bravo’s unconvincing first campaign.
The 30-year-old is trying not to think about his club future as England prepare to end their season with a friendly against France, but he admitted his career is “almost in the hands of the businessmen now” as he remains patient during this “game of chess”.
“I would love to give you a poker-straight answer, but I’ve got nothing at the moment because I think people are focused on international duty and respecting that players are focusing on international duty,” Hart said.
“Come Tuesday night, I don’t know how everyone else finishes, after that is when conversations can be had and people can start being real.
“I need an offer first and then I need to work out my options if I have choices. I want to be playing at the highest possible level, pushing myself.
“It’s a short career. I want to push everything out of me. Physically I feel in great condition and I want to go again.”
West Ham are the latest club to be linked with a goalkeeper who does not feel it necessary to speak to City about his future as he senses the “direction” they are going in.
“I don’t know exactly,” Hart said of City’s asking price, admitting he was unsure whether it differs between English clubs and those abroad.
“It’s hard to say it’s realistic because football is a business at the end of the day and you can’t judge, it’s hard to judge realistically.
“The millions and zillions of pounds that get paid for someone to come and play football for you in the real world is strange, but in the business world, the football world it’s normal.
“I certainly don’t think they are going to try and price me out of a move, I think there’s enough respect between the player and club.
“We’re going to work together, there’s no point in working against. There no animosity between the two. They are going in their direction and I need to go in mine.”
Hart struck a calm, composed presence when discussing his future – easier said than done given the toll such uncertainty can take.
“It’s my life, it’s me, it’s my normal,” he said. “I am no robot, sometimes I do have thoughts about it.
“There is nothing to get down about. It’s just another exciting adventure, another move, the next step in my career, next chapter, next challenge for me personally.
“I love personal challenges and I have never shied away from one and I don’t intend to.
“If the switch is what needs to happen, and that’s key, we all need stability in our life.
“I’m not a kid any more, I can’t just pack my stuff like a 19, 17-year-old and go on loan. I am a 30-year-old man with stuff I need to organise. I like stability.
“There is an ideal situation to come out of this but nothing is perfect. It’s a short career and football is crazy so I have to be prepared for anything.”
Hart is adept at taking things in his stride, including questions that follow difficult displays.
Widely criticised for his performances at Euro 2016, he again came under scrutiny after Scotland’s Leigh Griffiths scored two free-kicks in Saturday’s 2-2 World Cup qualifier.
He felt the England wall could have done him a favour if they had jumped for the first free-kick.
“It might have helped but coulda, shoulda, woulda,” Hart said.
“I asked my wall to jump but not excessively because people are clever now and they go underneath.
“But I’ve seen it again and we would have needed four or five Crouchies in that wall to make a difference and that’s not what we had.”
Hart says his analysis switches to the set-pieces of Dimitri Payet and Paul Pogba, but Gareth Southgate intends to start Jack Butland, Fraser Forster or Tom Heaton in France.
Such talent, along with England Under-21 goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, makes the 71-cap goalkeeper appreciate every England appearance.
“I’ve got to respect this career, this shirt’s not mine,” Hart added.
“It’s not nailed-on mine, it’s no-one’s and we’ve got high quality and I have to be playing football at a good, well, at the top level, to the maximum of my ability to even get in the squad at the moment.
“That’s the plan but it’s a strange world the goalkeeping world and patience is probably going to have to be key at the moment.”