Aston Villa agree Sam Johnstone loan - end of the line for Pierluigi Gollini?

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce looks dejected

The young Italian may have made one costly mistake too many during his stint at Aston Villa.

Aston Villa have agreed a deal to sign Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on loan in January, according to The Sun, but what does this mean for dropped shot-stopper Pierluigi Gollini?

23-year-old Johnstone is yet to make a single senior appearance at his parent club despite a string of loan spells in the lower leagues, but a mid-season switch to Villa Park represents a great opportunity for him to prove his quality at one of the largest clubs outside the top flight.

The Sun adds that Johnstone will be former United captain Steve Bruce’s number one at the Midlands club.

Pierluigi Gollini of Aston Villa applauds the fans after the game

21-year-old Gollini, relegated with Hellas Verona in Serie A last season, is one of a vast number of young and talented Italian goalkeepers to emerge in recent seasons though Villa Park matchgoers have yet to see exactly why some have tipped him to be Gianluigi Buffon’s long-term successor at Juventus.

Aston Villa have only lost twice since Bruce took over from Roberto Di Matteo in October, but each of those defeats - away at Leeds and Norwich - could be attributed to mistakes from the rookie goalkeeper – a fact admitted by the manager himself in early December.

And, ever since Gazzetta Dello Sport linked him with a surprise switch to Inter Milan, Gollini has not been seen in an Aston Villa shirt - with the experienced Mark Bunn filling in effectively.

Pierluigi Gollini of Aston Villa collides with Chris Martin of Derby County

"I just felt with young Pier, it was a bit too much for him. There's not many playing at 21 week in week out. I find him very young,” Bruce told the Birmingham Mail recently.

The goalkeeper lost the faith of his manager and, after spending the vast majority of the season as the undisputed number one, could find himself bumped down to third choice.

An exit is now looking increasingly likely.

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