After a number of top performances in the Championship this season, Aston Villa are hoping to sign goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on a permanent deal in January.
According to the Express and Star, manager Steve Bruce is hoping to complete a deal for the English stopper and has even discussed Johnstone’s future at the club with a very royal fan – Prince William.
Johnstone is currently in his second loan spell at Villa Park from parent club Manchester United, who he joined as a youth player.
Since originally joining Bruce’s team last season, the 24-year-old has made 40 appearances in the Championship and has firmly secured his position as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.
This season alone, Johnstone has picked up eight clean sheets in 19 league appearances for Aston Villa and has seen the club climb to 4th in the table, just two points behind second-placed Cardiff City.
And a large part of Aston Villa’s success this season has come thanks to Johnstone being a big presence between the sticks.
He has conceded less than a goal per league match, with 17 goals conceded in the 19 he has played this season.
He has also made around 2.8 saves per match, keeping opposition strikers at bay frequently – seeing his club pick up three consecutive league victories over a seven-day period.
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Johnstone is still young by goalkeeping standards and has spent most of his professional career on-loan in the lower tiers of English football.
He is no doubt a promising talent in goal and playing regular, quality football will do wonders for his development.
Playing 40 games in a 12-month loan spell is a promising sign that he has found a club he can stick around at and be a reliable, regular starter.
His performances, along with those of his teammates, could see Aston Villa return to the Premier League at the end of this season after a two-year spell out of the top-tier.
A promotion looks to be a deserved reward for the young stopper and a permanent deal will secure his future with the club and allow him to focus on his football with minimal distractions.
It also appears to be a deal that would suit Manchester United as manager Jose Mourinho must sell players if he hopes to bring in new players during the January transfer window.
With Sam Johnstone not likely to break into the United first-team, it would be a logical move for both club and player.