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2nd May, 2017 | 2:41pm

Three reasons why soon-to-be released goalkeeper would boost Aston Villa 2017-18 title charge

COMMENT By Will Butcher

Steve Bruce must look to end his problem area between the Aston Villa goalposts with the signing of Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy.

Norwich confirmed on their official website on Tuesday afternoon that seven of their first-team stars would be leaving upon the expiration of their current deals at the end of June.

That list includes goalkeeper Ruddy, and here are three reasons why Bruce should look to sign the one-time England international on a free transfer to boost Villa’s title charge next term

Current goalkeeping situation

Bruce currently has Sam Johnstone in goal as his number one goalkeeper, while Mark Bunn occupies a seat on the substitutes’ bench. Italian summer signing Pierluigi Gollini remains out on loan with Atalanta. The latter is likely to have little or no future in the Midlands, after struggling to impress since signing from Verona at the start of the season. Bunn’s contract, like Ruddy’s, runs out at the end of June, while it is unclear if there is any deal in place for Villa to sign Johsntone from Man United on a permanent basis. That could see Bruce look to sign 30-year-old stopper Ruddy, who will now be without a club in less than two months’ time.

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Promotion experience

During his seven-year stay with the Canaries after signing permanently from Everton in 2010, Ruddy has been promoted twice from the Championship. He earned promotion in his first season at the club through the play-offs, before going one better in 2014-15 and going up automatically in second. That experience and know-how will prove crucial if Villa sign him, as Bruce eyes a fifth career promotion next term.

Proven Premier League star

If Bruce is to gain promotion next season, he must start flooding his side with players that are experienced in the top flight of English football. Ruddy has played 117 times in the Premier League, keeping 25 clean sheets in the process. If the Midlands giants do gain promotion come May 2018, then having players in their squad that know how to cope with the pressures of facing the likes of Man United, Chelsea and Tottenham will only prove beneficial.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, eight clubs are after this non-league defender including Bruce’s Villa.

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