Pundit reveals Heaton may snub new deal and quit Aston Villa as talks confirmed
Tom Heaton could snub the offer of a new Aston Villa contract to leave on a free this summer, according to Alan Hutton.
The former Villa star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 34-year-old would want guaranteed game time from next season.
As quoted by the Birmingham Mail, Dean Smith confirmed Heaton, Ahmed Elmohamady and Neil Taylor are set for talks with sporting director Johan Lange with their contracts set to expire at the end of the season.
It is said Villa are desperate to keep the goalkeeper on board as competition to current number one Emiliano Martinez.
Heaton joined as a first-choice shot-stopper back in 2019 but a serious cruciate ligament injury means he has not played since New Year’s Day in 2020.
Hutton insisted the former Burnley keeper is an “excellent” option for Villa to have on board.
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However, he suggested the 34-year-old would not be happy playing second fiddle next season.
“This is a problem, you need to remember Tom Heaton was brought in as number one,” Hutton told Football Insider’s Russell Edge.
“He was signed for £8million to be the Aston Villa number one. Obviously injury, you can’t help it, it is what it is. Martinez has come in and he’s been outstanding so it’s one of those ones where you have to just wait.
“There’s nothing you can do about it. Martinez is now number one so it looks like Tom Heaton’s game time is going to be a lot shorter. At his age, you want to be playing football. That’s why he came to Villa, to play football and it’s not quite worked out.
“My understanding is Villa will be desperate to keep them because he’s excellent, he is a number one goalkeeper. So, it’s difficult to keep two players of that stature happy. Whether he stays, we’ll have to wait and see.
“Factoring everything in, his age, I’m pretty sure he’ll want to play. I think it’ll be difficult to keep hold of him.”