Aston Villa transfer news: Bruce close to clinching Johnstone deal

By Wayne Veysey

21st Dec, 2016 | 8:08pm

Report: Aston Villa agree January transfer, deal to be completed on 1 January

By Harry Sykes

Aston Villa have agreed a deal to sign goalkeeper Sam Johnstone from Manchester United in the January window, according to a report.

The Birmingham Mail claim the Midlands giants “have an agreement to take the 23-year-old on loan when the window opens”.

This suggests that Johnstone is in line to complete a move to Villa Park on 1 January, which is the first day that winter deals can be completed.

The report claims that Villa goalkeeper Gary Walsh has been key to identifying Johnstone as a target for the Championship outfit.

Villa manager Steve Bruce has been widely linked with signing a new goalkeeper in the January market amid doubts over current custodian Pierluigi Gollini.

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Sky Italy journalist Gianluca Di Marzio claimed on his website that Gollini could leave the club in January to return to his native Italy even though he only joined in a £4million deal from Hellas Verona last summer.

This would pave the way for Bruce to sign another goalkeeper as the club plan a promotion assault in the new year.

Gollini is the undisputed number one at Villa Park but has been criticised for a number of high profile errors this season and is in danger of losing his first team spot.

The 21-year-old has started 21 of the club’s 22 Championship matches, and has been a mainstay of the side that is 13th in the table.

Football Insider verdict:

For the sake of his career, Johnstone needs to go out on loan. Aged 23, he is almost past the point of playing regular Premier League 2 football with the aspiring academy products. The keeper needs competitive first-team football, and Villa can offer that. Gollini has proved he is not up to scratch, and United academy product Johnstone has the pedigree to replace him. He has already had loan spells with Doncaster, Scunthorpe, Preston, Walsall and Yeovil, and has wide experience of the English lower leagues. Villa have come in for him at the ideal time.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, fans have reacted on Twitter as Bruce seals his first signing this month before the window even opens.