By Harry Sykes
Roberto Di Matteo has lined up a summer move for Watford goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, according to a report.
The Daily Mirror claim the new Aston Villa manager is keen to recruit the 29-year-old from Vicarage Road as he steps up plans to strengthen his squad.
However, it is said that the Romanian is unwilling to take a pay cut to drop a division to the Championship.
Pantilimon joined Watford in January this year from Sunderland on a three-and-a half-year deal that runs until the summer of 2019.
Despite being the deputy to Watford’s established keeper Heurelho Gomes and to Vito Mannone at the Black Cats, Pantilimon played 21 matches in 2015-16.
He also spent two-and-a-half years at Manchester City when he first made the move to English football.
Di Matteo is hoping regular first-team football will act as motivation for Pantilimon to drop into the second tier as the replacement for Brad Guzan.
In other Aston Villa news, the Midlands club have been given an emphatic answer in their bid to sign a Spanish hotshot.