Exclusive: Aston Villa star's fitness key to teammate getting new deal - Bruce claim

Alex Bruce claims Tom Heaton’s fitness will determine whether Pepe Reina signs a permanent deal at Aston Villa this summer.

The former Premier League defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says it would not surprise him to see the 37-year-old Spaniard stick around but admits it all depends on his Villa teammate.

The former Liverpool stopper was brought in temporarily during the January window after Heaton suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of 2020.

Having seen Reina play regularly since his arrival, Bruce believes a permanent deal could be on the cards depending on his fellow shot-stopper’s situation.

Bruce told Football Insider: “It wouldn’t surprise me if a permanent deal would be given to Reina.

“Obviously it depends what he’s got going on at his parent club and the decision that they make regarding keeping him because obviously he’s a fair age now but he’s a fit fella.

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“A lot depends on Tom Heaton as well, I’d imagine. I’m sure they’ll want to sit down with the physio, find out how long exactly Tom’s going to be out for and make a decision on Reina from there.”

Reina has played all six of the club’s Premier League games since his arrival at Villa Park, conceding 13 goals.

Dean Smith has also made use of Orjan Nyland between the sticks this season, the Norway international handed his chance in the League Cup.

In other Aston Villa news, Alan Hutton is desperate to for the club to tie down a 22-year-old up for free this summer.