By Will Butcher
Steve Bruce has scheduled face-to-face talks with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho next week in order to thrash out a deal for Sam Johnstone, according to a report.
The Birmingham Mail claim the 24-year-old stopper has impressed Bruce this season, after starting every game since signing on loan during the January transfer window.
The report also claims that Premier League duo Everton and Bournemouth are also set to enter the race for Johnstone, while a whole host of Championship clubs could also become interested.
It is believed that Bruce, a former Manchester United defender, has already spoken to Mourinho over the phone in order to confirm his interest in keeping Johnstone at Villa Park.
During his 21 Championship appearances since putting pen to paper on a six-month loan deal with Villa, Johnstone has surpassed expectation by keeping eight clean sheets.
It has seen the England Under-20 international become an integral member of Bruce’s side, and he will want to keep the core of his squad for next season in order to push for promotion.
Football Insider verdict:
Both Everton and Aston Villa need goalkeepers. Villa are about to lose back-up goalkeeper Mark Bunn, who has less than two months left on his contract in the Midlands. Summer signing Pierluigi Gollini has endured a nightmare spell at Villa Park, and is currently on loan with Serie A side Atalanta – where he could move permanently in the upcoming transfer window. At Everton, Joel Robles has been ineffective and error prone, while Maarten Stekelenburg has endured a number of injuries. For both clubs, bringing Johnstone to the club would be a strong signing and he could prove crucial in boosting Villa’s promotion chances next season.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, this defender has reached an agreement with the club.