Aston Villa would jump at the chance of signing Sam Johnstone on a permanent deal from Manchester United. At least, that is according to manager Steve Bruce.
“It would be great to keep him here for the next few years as Villa’s No.1,” the former United captain is quoted by The Mirror. “I will need to ask the question. The ideal move for us would be to buy him in January.”
It’s fair to say Johnstone has proved a popular addition at Villa Park since arriving on loan in the winter, and extending his deal for the entirety of the 2017/18 season. Bruce’s side were frequently undermined by goalkeeping howlers and horror shows in the first half of the previous campaign, with young Italian Pierluigi Gollini and experienced back-up Mark Bunn doing little to convince on a regular basis.
However, you can count the mistakes Johnstone has made on one hand. There’s a reason the 24-year-old was the subject of interest from a number of top flight clubs, including Everton and Bournemouth, in the summer.
Though the Preston-born ‘keeper has not played a minute of Premier League football in his career, he seems destined for a bright future – if his impressive, week-in-week-out performances for Villa are anything to go by.
And, considering how highly Johnstone is rated by Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, who refused to sell him in the summer, Villa getting a permanent deal over the line would be seen as a real coup – especially with the Birmingham Mail reporting that Johnstone still harbours hopes of battling David de Gea for the number one shirt at Old Trafford.
Playing first-team football at Villa has been the making of the young keeper, and a long-term stay would be beneficial for both player and club. And while Villa earned plenty of praise landing big names like Robert Snodgrass and John Terry, Johnstone could be Bruce’s best signing yet.