By Amir Mir
Aston Villa are close to signing Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on loan, according to a report.
The Telegraph claim that “Steve Bruce has moved for the former England under-20 international and is set to complete a deal before the January transfer window opens.”
Villa’s number one keeper is Pierluigi Gollini, who was a £4 million summer signing from Hellas Verona, but the Italian has had a shaky start to life in the Midlands.
He has made a number of costly mistakes for the promotion hopefuls, most recently during the 2-0 defeat at Leeds in early December.
It is said promotion expert Bruce has identified the capture of a new goalkeeper as a priority and wants to sign Johnstone for the remainder of the season.
Additionally, the former Manchester United captain has also got concerns over Gollini’s lack of Championship experience and the 21-year-old’s age.
Johnstone, who signed a new contract at Old Trafford in October, is two years older than Gollini and enjoyed a successful loan spell with Preston North End last term.
He helped Simon Grayson’s side secure promotion to the second-tier, playing in the play-off final win against Swindon at Wembley.
The Telegraph also report that United manager Jose Mourinho is prepared to loan Johnstone out for the second half of the campaign.
Football Insider verdict:
Villa require a new goalkeeper between the sticks because their current first choice is simply not up to the standards of Championship football. Johnstone may not be the Villa fans’ first choice but it’s not always possible to sign an established name. Johnstone has valuable experience in the Championship and League 1 and – most importantly – he knows what it takes to win promotion. His addition would be welcome to the side, and the United shot stopper would bring some much-needed freshness and calmness to the backline.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, the Championship side are hoping to strike a January deal with this Arsenal fringe player.