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4th Jan, 2017 | 4:43pm

Aston Villa move step closer to signing PL player after development - report

By Matt Farr

Aston Villa have edged a step closer to signing Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, according to a report.

The Sun claim that Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has recalled 20-year-old stopper Joel Pereira from his loan spell at Belenenses to provide cover for senior keeper duo David De Gea and Sergio Romero.

Pereira’s return to Old Trafford paves the way for Johnstone to complete a loan move to Aston Villa, where he will reportedly spend the remainder of the season.

The 23-year-old has played five times for Manchester United’s reserve side this season, keeping two clean sheets, but Mourinho believes that a loan move would be best for the player’s development.

A temporary switch to Villa Park will be the eighth loan spell of Johnstone’s professional career, having most recently appeared for Preston during the 2015-16 campaign.

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Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce is seeking Johnstone as competition for current no.1 Mark Bunn and Pierluigi Gollini.

Johnstone’s pending arrival raises further doubts over Gollini’s long-term future at the club, having been dropped from the starting line-up after a string of poor performances.

In December, Gazzetto dello Sport claimed that Serie A giants Inter Milan were interested in acquiring Gollini on loan until the end of the season, to act as deputy to Samir Handanovic.

In other Aston Villa news, Ian Taylor has delivered his verdict on Villa’s interest in Henri Lansbury.