England NO.1 Hart has been dropped by City boss Manuel Pellegrini after a series of blunders and Romania's Costel Pantillimon will continue in goal at Sunderland today.

But an even more worrying scenario is developing for Hart in the long term, with City now eyeing Barcelona’s Victor Valdes.

The Spanish keeper, 31, is quitting Barca next year and is wanted by Monaco.

But City are now ready to rival the French club.

QPR’s out-of-favour Brazil keeper Julio Cesar, 34, is also being linked with City, whose scouts have been told to assess targets for the No.1 role.

The Daily Star Sunday revealed five weeks ago that City were eyeing keepers – and Hart was still in the team then.

Also under scrutiny are two of Pellegrini’s former keepers from his time in Spain – Malaga’s Wilfredo Caballero and Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas. And Stoke’s Asmir Begovic was a target last season before Pellegrini’s arrival.

It is a disturbing situation for Hart – and England, with a World Cup in Brazil on the horizon.

If Pellegrini lands Valdes for instance, there could be no way back for Hart, 26.