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24th Dec, 2017 | 6:51am

Aston Villa in January battle to hang on to 24-year-old Prince William favourite wanted by PL big guns - report

Aston Villa could be set to lose on-loan goalkeeper Sam Johnstone in January after parent club Manchester United slapped a £5million price tag on the 24-year-old stopper, according to a report.

The Daily Mail claim that United may look to sell Johnstone next month, with several Premier League clubs interested in the young ‘keeper.

Johnstone is currently impressing on a season-long loan at Villa, and while Steve Bruce wants to secure a permanent deal for the player, he must sell in order to secure the required funds.

Villa are reportedly close to falling foul of financial fair play regulations, and Bruce is said to be considering the sale of midfield man Henri Lansbury to fund a deal for Johnstone, while Jack Grealish and Scott Hogan are also other assets that could leave.

The 24-year-old has 18 months left on his United contract, and the Red Devils are said to be keen to cash in on the growing interest in Johnstone.

Premier League clubs West Ham, West Bromwich Albion, and Crystal Palace are all reportedly keeping tabs on the goalkeeper, and could snatch Villa’s number one away if they meet United’s £5million valuation.

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Bruce revealed last week that Villa fan Prince William had recently urged him to try and get Johnstone signed up full-time.

Football Insider verdict: 

To lose Johnstone, who has been a revelation this season for Villa, would be a massive blow for Steve Bruce. It is quite clear that Villa will do all they can to sign the 24-year-old to permanent terms, but with so much interest from the top-flight it could be out of their hands. It is a ruthless move from United to potentially cut short what has been a successful loan for Johnstone so far, but with 18 months left on his contract, it is the perfect time to cash in on the player. Bruce is said to be considering an exit for Lansbury, which Villa fans would surely take if it were to secure Johnstone’s future at the club. 

In other Aston Villa news, Steve Bruce has delivered a worrying update on two of the club’s powerhouses ahead of their Boxing Day clash with Brentford.

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