Aston Villa have reportedly won the race to secure the services of Manchester United goalkeeper on a loan move until the end of the season.
According to Joe Bernstein of Mail Online, Championship side Aston Villa have agreed a deal to sign Manchester United’s reserve goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on a loan until the end of the season.
In response to this, United boss Jose Mourinho has opted to recall youngster Joel Pereira, who is on loan at Portuguese club Belenenses as a cover to the first and second choice goalkeepers in David de Gea and Sergio Romero. Pereira has impressed for the under-21 national side and was also part of Portugal’s 2016 Olympic squad.
Despite spending a staggering eight seasons at the club, Johnstone is yet to make a first-team appearance for the club. With de Gea’s impressive performances in goal for the past three seasons, and Romero’s capability to serve as a viable understudy, Johnstone is unlikely to be part of the first-team picture anytime soon.
The 23-year-old has been loaned out to six different clubs from 2011 to 2016, and has been impressive for the lower-league sides. His best performances arguably came at Doncaster Rovers where he spent two seasons.
Johnstone emerged as a transfer target for Sunderland after first-choice goalkeeper Jordan Pickford picked up an injury.The 22-year-old has impressed between the sticks for the Black Cats this season and is going to be dearly missed as David Moyes’ men look to be fighting a grueling battle to avoid relegation.
However, Championship side Aston Villa appears to have won the race to sign Johnstone as they find themselves in a disappointing 12th position in England’s second tier. After being relegated in 2015/16, many expected the Villans to fight for promotion, but unfortunately that is not the case.
Manager Steve Bruce took over the reins from Roberto Di Matteo in October, and has since been looking for a quality goalkeeper. Italian stopper Pierluigi Gollini has not been in the best of form this campaign and Mark Bunn too has struggled for consistency.
Signing Johnstone may prove to be a good move by Bruce as he will be looking to bring his side back into the play-offs picture. Things may not have been going perfectly for Villa, but signing a keeper who has experience of training with top players, could be just what they needed to push for promotion.