Remi Garde expresses his frustration at Aston Villa's failure to land Lovre Kalinic

Villa Park Outside

The Hajduk Split goalkeeper's proposed move to Villa Park collapsed over work permit issues.

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde has spoken of his surprise and disappointment at seeing a move for Hajduk Split goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic break down over work permit issues.

Villa looked to be on the verge of signing Kalinic two weeks ago after agreeing a reported £4.9 million deal with Hajduk for the two-time capped Croatia international but saw the move collapse at the final hurdle after his initial work permit application and subsequent appeal were both rejected.

They reportedly lodged a second appeal to the Football Association on Thursday in a last-ditch attempt to get the decision overturned but were met with another rejection [h/t Telegraph], forcing Garde to abandon his pursuit of the 6ft 7in custodian.

Asked about his failure to land Kalinic at his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s trip to West Ham United, the Frenchman said: “The only reason he didn’t sign was that we have been denied a work permit by the FA. That’s all I can say. The deal was ok with the player and the club.

Pressed on whether he was disappointed at the FA’s decision, he added: “Yes, of course, because he was a target for me and I think in that position we could have improved the team.

“Of course, I’m disappointed a lot about that.”

Garde now looks unlikely to make his first signing as Villa boss before today’s 11pm transfer deadline, leaving incumbent No. 1 Mark Bunn and the under-fire Brad Guzan as his options between the post for the rest of the season.

He had also been desperate to add a new striker to a squad which has scored a Premier League-low 18 goals in 23 games but missed out on a last-minute move for Roma's Seydou Doumbia after the Ivorian opted to join relegation rivals Newcastle United on loan instead.

The former Lyon boss admitted that he has been left hugely frustrated by his first transfer window in charge, having seen the club’s position at the foot of the table and financial restrictions scupper several deals for potential new recruits.

"The situation of the team at the bottom of the table was not something easy to deal with for new players but it's not the only reason,” he added at his press conference. "It was also a financial problem but it's not my job to explain that again. Probably the club realise mistakes have been made in the past and they didn't want to do it again.

"I am disappointed because I know I represent this big club. I am not coming in front of the fans with good news. I always said I will not run away.

"I feel the way I am working, and the way I see the club, I feel the support."

Whether he will feel the same way in the summer obviously remains to be seen, though.

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