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Lovre Kalinic: I'm a better goalkeeper than the one which almost joined Aston Villa

By Luke Hatfield | Aston Villa | Published:

New Aston Villa goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic believes he's a better player than the one Villa almost brought to B6 three years ago.

Lovre Kalinic in action for Croatia (Photo: Светлана Бекетова)

The Croatian, who will wear the number 28 shirt, was poised to become a Villa player back in January 2016 when Remi Garde negotiated a £4.9m deal for the then Hadjuk Split stopper - but the move fell through after he was denied a work permit.

Kalinic now feels Villa are getting an even better goalkeeper thanks to his experience on the international stage.

"I think I'm better now. I've played in a World Cup," he said.

"Three years ago I came close to signing – now I'm finally here and am delighted to be so.

"I remember thinking that coming to a big club like Aston Villa from a small country like Croatia would amazing for me.

First interview | Lovre Kalinic

"It didn't get finished, but now it has. I'm very happy.

"I'm three years older and have gained a lot of experience in that period.

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"I will give the best representation of myself on the pitch – that's all I can say.

"I want to continue to improve as well, and become the best I can be."

Kalinic is now eligible to play for Villa after agreeing his move from Gent to the Second City last month, and will battle Jed Steer and Mark Bunn for the starting spot between the sticks after Orjan Nyland was ruled out for the remainder of the season through injury.

"The club has showed me the vision for the future." he continued.

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"It's exciting and it's the reason I chose Aston Villa, amid interest from Premier League teams.

"I now want to prove to the board, who bought me, and the fans, what I'm all about."

The Croatian could feature as soon as this weekend, as Villa host Swansea in the FA Cup third round, league proceedings restart on January 12 when Wigan welcome Dean Smith's side.

Luke Hatfield

By Luke Hatfield
@LHatfield_Star

Digital Sports Journalist with the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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