Report explains how Aston Villa aim to fund permanent Sam Johnstone deal

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Cardiff City at Villa Park on November 26, 2016 in Birmingham, England.

Aston Villa want to sign Sam Johnstone permanently from Manchester United - but West Brom may have the upper hand.

Villa keeper Sam Johnstone in action  during the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa at St James' Park on February 20, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Aston Villa are in a difficult situation. As manager Steve Bruce has made clear on countless occasions, the Midland club would love to sign Sam Johnstone on a permanent deal from Manchester United after the goalkeeper spent the last 11 months on loan at Villa Park.

But it’s not that simple. The Sun claims that United may exercise their re-call option in January and sell Johnstone for a decent fee.

Villa’s local rivals West Brom are willing to pay £4 million. And, thanks to Financial Fair Play restrictions leaving Villa relying on loans or cut price deals, it’s a fee that they cannot afford to match right now.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone celebrates his team's opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Burton Albion and Aston Villa at Pirelli Stadium on September 26, 2017...

So although Johnstone told the Express and Star recently that his only focus was on securing promotion for Bruce’s high-flying challengers, it appears his future could be out of his own hands.

Though as the Birmingham Mail point out, earning a place back in the Premier League, and the prize money such an achievement would provide, is the only way Villa can get hold of the funds required to sign Johnstone on a permanent basis.

Sam Johnstone of Manchester United looks on during the FA Youth Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on April 20, 2011 in Manchester, England.

The report states that Villa would love to sign Johnstone in January – but are fully aware that they would have no problem stumping up that £4 million fee if they finish in the Championship’s top two, or go up via the play-offs.

Nonetheless, there is a lot of hopeful ‘ifs’ involved in an increasingly complex deal. With United capable of re-calling Johnstone next month, it appears Bruce is relying on his former club showing a little patience and allowing Villa time to get the money together.

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