By Danny Wright
Aston Villa have opened talks with Manchester United to sign Sam Johnstone on a permanent transfer, according to a report.
The Telegraph claim that Villa are willing to pay United £3million to keep hold of the Premier League goalkeeper, who has been in impressive form for the Championship side in recent weeks.
It is said that Steve Bruce is looking to get the jump on the Premier League clubs by trying to get the deal done with Jose Mourinho as soon as possible.
However the Birmingham-based club, who look set for another season in the second tier of English football, face stern competition from top flight trio Bournemouth, Everton and Sunderland.
Johnstone signed a new contract at Old Trafford in October but the lure of becoming a long-standing No. 1 with Villa could prove too much to resist.
He was Bruce’s first signing at Villa Park and, despite making a rocky start in the West Midlands, he has since proven the doubters wrong and has kept five clean sheets in his last six appearances.
In total, the 24-year-old has made 14 appearances for Aston Villa, conceding 17 goals.
Despite spending his whole career at Manchester United, Johnstone has never made a first team appearance for them and spent a lot of time on loan to clubs including Doncaster, Preston and Walsall.
Football Insider Verdict
Many players take a bit of time to get themselves comfortable at a new club and that was no different for Johnstone. He came into a team that was full of new faces, not just for him but everyone and now that he and his teammates have settled down he is showing some of the performances he is capable of. Although he’s never played a competitive game for United, there’s a reason why they kept him on their books for so long and £3million isn’t a lot of cash for a young, English player. It should be a clever piece of business from Bruce and his team should the three other clubs interested in him begin to look elsewhere.
In other Aston Villa news, these are the three biggest games left of the club’s rollercoaster campaign.