With the January transfer window fast approaching, here are the latest news and rumours doing the rounds at Villa Park:
In an article including quotes from both manager Steve Bruce & full-back Neil Taylor – there’s obvious eagerness to secure Sam Johnstone’s services in the longer term.
The loanee keeper, in his second stint at Villa Park, has impressed considerably this season with a number of noteworthy stops and a string of clean sheets.
We will do everything in our power to get him here permanently – Steve Bruce
With Johnstone in his final year of a deal at Manchester United, and with any breakthrough in the ranks at Old Trafford remote despite his strong Championship form, a big decision looms for both him and Villa.
Villa have been plagued by indifferent or frankly poor keepers for a number of years and the 24 year arguably represents a great opportunity to install a genuine number 1 for both present and future needs.
The challenge though is two fold. Can Villa match Johnstone’s ambitions? And might Johnstone be on the radar of any number of Premier League sides [outside the upper echelons], looking to add strength in depth between the sticks?
A very tentative link has been struck by the Birmingham Fail [Beware Clickbait & Ads] indicating that Villa may be interested in a move for Bournmouth’s Lewis Grabban.
The striker, currently on loan at Championship strugglers is reported to be surplus to requirements for Eddie Howe’s south coast outfit.
Villa and Bruce appear to have the unenviable task of identifying attacking reinforcements this January with long term injury to Jonathan Kodjia, sicknote/lack of progress with Scott Hogan and cover for Kienan Davis required.
The issue is further compounded by academy prospect Hepburn-Murphy remaining an unproven and untested talent at senior level with his own recurring injury problems.
Lewis Grabban Key Facts:
- 11 Goals in 17 Games for Sunderland (Currently On Loan)
- Release clause in place with Chris Coleman’s side – not yet activated.
- Wolves and Fulham also monitoring his situation. [Source]
- 29 Years Old
- Club Career includes Norwich, Brentford, Millwall & Crystal Palace.
- 110 Goals in 355 Senior Appearances
- Can play as a winger as well as a striker.