Premier League club aim to hijack Aston Villa transfer after talks begin - report
By Harry Sykes
Sunderland are ready to hijack Aston Villa’s bid to sign Sam Johnstone this summer, according to a report.
The Sun claim David Moyes’ side are keeping close tabs on the Manchester United goalkeeper as they shortlist transfer targets ahead of a season in the Championship.
Sunderland’s interest in the in-form Johnstone comes after Bruce revealed at the start of the month that he would immediately hold talks with United counterpart Jose Mourinho to negotiate the transfer of the 24-year-old.
It has been reported this week that the Midlands club are ready to offer £3million for Johnstone after a series of impressive displays during his loan spell.
There is also the possibility that the Premier League player could return for a second loan to the Championship outfit.
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Sunderland’s reported interest muddies the waters for Villa and suggests they could have to pay an inflated fee to land the United academy product.
Johnstone had some early difficulties after joining the Championship outfit at the start of the January transfer window.
But his form has improved along with his teammates, and the goalkeeper has been integral to the team’s recent revival, conceding just two goals as Villa have won seven and drawn one of their last nine matches.
Johnstone, who has yet to make his senior United debut, has made 16 appearances for Villa, conceding 17 goals and keeping seven clean sheets.
Bruce replaced Roberto Di Matteo at Villa Park and initially oversaw a revival before a crippling set of results either side of the new year effectively ended the club’s promotion hopes.
Villa have climbed to 11th in the Championship table but remain 11 points adrift of Sheffield Wednesday, who are sixth and in the final promotion spot.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, talks are to get underway as a proven Premier League performer wants to join the Midlands club.