TRANSFER LINKS & RUMOURS
Villa, along with a host of other sides have been linked to 19 year old Ipswich midfielder Kundai Benyu.
- Box to box midfielder.
- Out of contract this summer.
- Banished by Ipswich out on loan after fall-out with Mick McCarthy.
- Impressed whilst away, albeit for Aldershot.
- Competed against Villa at 2016 NextGen tournament (for Spurs).
Very early days yet.
Another moment of brilliance from @kundaibenyu_… pic.twitter.com/FT0wHIrH8o
— Aldershot Town FC (@OfficialShots) April 9, 2017
Any permanent deal for the Man United goalkeeper is likely to be dependent upon Johnstone accepting that his career lies away from Old Trafford.
Whilst Johnstone has improved since a decidedly indifferent start to life at Villa Park, he is far from the finished article. This would lead most fans to conclude that whilst he has built his experience on multiple loans to date, the likelihood of unseating De Gea (and 3+ other Utd keeping options) looks quite slim.
Steve Bruce has confirmed that he is to meet United boss Jose Mourinho personally in order to reach a decision on Johnstone’s future.
It is possible that this could extend to a further loan deal, as Villa are likely to explore more experienced options and greater competition between the sticks.
Villa are desperately short of both quality and experience in goal, with Johnstone the only real option with second choice Mark Bunn an extremely limited replacement. Beyond this, Jed Steer’s career remains in limbo after a season long injury layoff. Beyond that, only untested youth goalkeeper’s are to hand.
As such, don’t be surprised to see Bruce scouring the market for more experienced keepers, possibly to provide competition if Johnstone is secured, but equally, to provide a dependable number one to safeguard a promotion push.
A link to an experienced keeper does include 31 year old Celtic stopper Logan Bailly.
The Belgian keeper has been a virtual outcast at Celtic Park, appearing only for the under 20’s side. He would be expected to command a relatively low fee but is contracted until 2018.
Despite having caught the eye at Genk & Borussia Munchengladbach prior to a transfer to Celtic in 2015, Bailly have never managed to claim the number 1 spot & sits as 3rd choice keeper for Brendan Rodgers.
It remains to be seen what Bailly’s intentions are – with conflicting reports of his desire to return to Belgium. That may or may not be the case, but if an offer were forthcoming from England, one would think that the lure of both the challenge and wage on offer might be something too big to refuse.
Obligatory youtube video compilation of saves:
The inevitable departure of Libor Kozak was confirmed yesterday, after the for Lazio & Czech international called time on his injury ravaged Villa career.
Few would have a bad word to say about Kozak, who has been a quiet and diligent figure in respect of how he has conducted himself and his recovery.
In truth, his Villa career was stop-start and never got going before a double leg break in training set off a chain reaction of layoffs.
With Villa’s significant investment in strikers, wider ambitions and the emergence of Hepburn-Murphy & most recently Kienan Davis, it is also hard to see where Kozak would fit in a new look Villa strikeforce.
The Villa Underground wishes him well.
- Suffers double broken leg at the hands of Ciaran Clark in training January 2014.
- Leg re-pinned October 2014, following the use of an “external”doctor who advised training whilst one of the broken bones had failed to heal. This decision to opt for an outside opinion and surgical intervention has never been fully explained by the club or Kozak, but must stand as a major oversight by both parties.
- 2016: During the brief Remi Garde era Libor breaks a bone in his foot as Villa nosedive towards relegation.
- February 2017, breaks down again & undergoes an ankle operation, keeping him out for remainder of 2016/17 season.