Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce eyes permanent deal for Manchester United keeper Sam Johnstone
Villa will explore the possibility of signing goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on a permanent deal during the January transfer window.
The 24-year-old is currently on a season-long loan from Manchester United but boss Steve Bruce is eager to sign him on a permanent basis, following a string of impressive performances.
Johnstone is part of a Villa defence which has kept four clean sheets in the last five games heading into Saturday’s game against Bolton.
And Bruce said: “It would be great to keep him here for the next few years as Villa’s No.1.”
Johnstone is contracted at United until next summer, with the option for a further year, and is highly-rated by the Premier League club.
But with David De Gea and Sergio Romero ahead of him in the pecking order, Johnstone’s chances at Old Trafford would appear limited and he has settled well at Villa Park, where he also spent the second half of last season on loan.
Villa would likely need to be firmly in the promotion race for any deal to be feasible, while finances could also prove a sticking point.
“I will need to ask the question,” said Bruce. “The ideal move for us would be to buy him in January.
“You’ve seen it, a young goalkeeper coming in and getting better with every game he plays.
“The difference in him since he’s started in January to now is light years. He’s confident, playing every week and he’s playing real football.”
Villa go into the game against bottom of the table Bolton unbeaten in seven and aiming for their fourth straight win.
Bruce has been encouraged by his team’s upturn in form but is eager not to get too carried away.
“There’s still a long way to go. We’ve given ourselves a good platform but that’s all it is,” he said.
“We’ve had a good week but we must maintain it. The winter is where the hard work starts.
“If we get ourselves into the top-six before the international break then it’s something to build on.
“It’s where we wanted to be at the start. We had a poor start but we’ve had a good September.”