Date: 21st December 2018 at 2:22pm
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EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke

Aston Villa assistant manager John Terry sought recommendations from Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren and former West Ham boss Slaven Bilic before the club signed goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic, Football Insider sources understands.

Villa have agreed a deal to sign Croatian international Kalinic from Gent and he will officially move to Villa Park on January 1st when the transfer window reopens.

As revealed by Football Insider, Kalinic has agreed a four-and-a-half year deal on £30,000 a week at Villa to become Dean Smith’s first signing as manager for a fee rising to £7million.

Villa have been tracking Kalinic for some time, but a well-placed source has told Football Insider that Terry played an active role in getting the deal done by consulting Croatian duo Lovren and Bilic over Kalinic.

Liverpool centre-back Lovren is an international team-marte of Kalinic, while former Croatia coach Bilic knows all about the giant shot-stopper and both men are understood to have given Terry glowing references about Kalinic’s qualities and his suitability for English football.

Smith and Terry had made a new goalkeeper one of their top priorities in the January transfer window and they feel they have filled that void with the arrival of Kalinic as they look to build a squad capable of winning promotion back to the Premier League this season.

In other Liverpool news, it can be REVEALED the club are plotting a move to sign a Leeds United sensation.