Aston Villa want Brad Jones; Is Australian their Sam Johnstone contingency plan?

Steve Bruce, Manager of Aston Villa during the The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Aston Villa and Peterborough United at Villa Park on January 6, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

Feyenoord goalkeeper Brad Jones wants to return to England and Championship promotion hopefulls Aston Villa are watching the Eredivisie 'keeper closely.

Sam Johnstone of Aston Villa celebrates during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Villa Park on March 10, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

Aston Villa would love to sign Sam Johnstone on a permanent deal from Manchester United at the end of the season.

But with the on-loan goalkeeper valued at £6.5 million, per The Sun, Villa boss Steve Bruce will be fully aware that their hopes rest on promotion.

Villa did not spend a penny in the January transfer window due to Financial Fair Play restrictions and, if they are still in the Championship next season, the prospect of spending £6.5 million on a single player would look nigh-on impossible.

Steve Bruce, Manager of Aston Villa during the The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Aston Villa and Peterborough United at Villa Park on January 6, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

Promotion to the Premier League, and all the riches that entails, would fund a deal for Johnstone but the 1-0 defeat to Bolton on Saturday, which leaves Aston Villa seven points adrift of second place Cardiff City, means they will most likely have to go through the mill of the play-offs.

Back up option?

So reports in The Mirror that Villa have sent scouts to watch Feyenoord’s Australian goalkeeper Brad Jones hints at a contingency plan.

The 35-year-old former Liverpool glovesman won the Eredivisie title with the Rotterdam giants last season, ending an 19-year-old wait for a league crown, and was named the Dutch top flight’s best goalkeeper too.

Brad Jones of Feyenoord looks on during the UEFA Champions League group F match between Feyenoord and Manchester City at Feijenoord Stadion on September 13, 2017 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

But Goal reports that Jones would be keen on a return to England and the fact his contract expires in the summer of 2019 means he would obviously be far cheaper than Johnstone.

With promotion far from guaranteed, it makes sense for Villa to plan for the worst case scenario, and interest in Jones could be exactly that.

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch