Report explains how promotion would impact Aston Villa's permanent Sam Johnstone hopes

Villa manager Steve Bruce reacts after a near miss during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on September 12, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is wanted by Championship hopefuls Aston Villa on a permanent deal.

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...

If you overlook that dreadful miskick in Aston Villa’s recent defeat to Fulham, Sam Johnstone has barely put a foot wrong since joining the Midlands club on loan from Manchester United in January 2017.

Villa were conceding soft goals left and right and centre before the goalkeeper’s arrival, but his presence between the sticks this season has ensured that only four Championship sides have a better defensive record than Steve Bruce’s team.

Johnstone has been as important as John Terry, Jack Grealish and Albert Adomah to Aston Villa’s promotion hopes. So far, Bruce’s side are third and looking good for a place in the play-offs, nine points clear of seventh placed Bristol City.

And, according to the Manchester Evening News, what happens between now and the end of the season will impact Bruce’s hopes of keeping Johnstone permanently at Villa Park.

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.

The manager has barely wasted an opportunity in recent months to make it clear that he would love to keep the former Preston and Doncaster loanee once his loan expires in the summer but, with Financial Fair Play limiting Villa’s budget, they could not afford to negotiate in January.

And the Manchester Evening News reports that United will increase their asking price for Johnstone should Villa earn promotion.

Villa manager Steve Bruce reacts after a near miss during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on September 12, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

The Mail claimed in December that United value Johnstone, who hasn’t made his debut for the Old Trafford giants at around £5 million – and that figure could rise again soon if victory in the play-offs is ensured.

As a result, Villa would have to make him the most expensive goalkeeper in their history – and hope the riches of Premier League promotion could finance a deal that would be impossible if they stayed in the Championship.

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