Kevin Phillips has tipped Aston Villa to make a move for John Ruddy this summer to replace the departing Pepe Reina.
The former Claret and Blue, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, insisted Dean Smith will have to address the goalkeeping “concern” at Villa Park regardless of the season’s outcome.
Pepe Reina, 37, revealed in an Instagram live that he will return to Milan at the end of his loan deal and even hinted at retirement in the near future.
The former Liverpool number one was signed in January to deputise for Tom Heaton who was ruled out for the season after suffering new ligament damage on New Year’s Day.
Reina’s loan deal is due to expire on June 30 but FIFA have given the Premier League the authority to extend loan deals beyond that date if needed to complete the season.
Phillips claimed Smith will need reinforcements in that area even with Heaton returning from injury and Orjan Nyland in reserve.
“Pepe is a wonderful keeper and has been throughout his career” he told Football Insider.
“I think at this stage of his career did he really want to come in and scrap in a relegation battle when perhaps he can go and enjoy life in Milan? But when we do start again he will give it his all.
“It will definitely be an area of concern for Dean whatever league they are in next year.
“John Ruddy could be an option for them at the end of the season.”
Ruddy will be available on a free transfer this summer with his contract at Wolves expiring in June.
Football Insider understands Leeds are to be offered the shot-stopper as they search for a keeper with Premier League experience.
In other Aston Villa news, Alan Hutton has told Football Insider signing is heading for Villa exit less than 12 months after joining.