In the summer, we were hit hard by the rules of financial fair play, and although Sam Johnstone had spent the season before on loan at Villa Park – all we could do this summer was get him in on loan again.
Johnstone is a 24-year-old goalkeeper who we have on loan from Premier League giants Manchester United. When he first arrived he had a bit of a shaky start with issues catching the ball in the six-yard box and often look to punch instead catching the ball which could leave us under more pressure from the opposition.
Since the mistakes and the inconsistent performances, Johnstone signed once again for the Villa and he has been many Villa fans player of the season thus far. He patrols the box with confidence and is clearly an excellent shot-stopper. In our recent win against Barnsley, Johnstone made an excellent save from a defensive error and the Holte End burst in to chant with “Sign him up”. If this doesn’t give Steve Bruce enough incentive to make Johnstone the top of his transfer priorities then I don’t know what will.
Johnstone clearly enjoyed his stay at Villa last season, as he came back for another go, so if Bruce can sing the right songs with Jose Mourinho then hopefully he will give Johnstone the all clear, and I reckon Johnstone would be more than happy to make his Villa career a permanent one.
Let’s face it, Johnstone is 3rd in line at Manchester United, behind one of the worlds best in David De Gea and the Argentinan Sergio Romero. He is unlikely to make even the bench at Old Trafford, whereas he is guaranteed first-team at Aston Villa. I’m sure he will be on a decent contract at Man United, but I doubt we would have difficulty matching it since he is a 3rd choice goalkeeper there.
There are rumours that Man United want £5 Million for their asset and in an interview the other day, Keith Wyness said we are well within the limits of financial fair play – meaning this shouldn’t be a difficult sum of money to pay.
I think I can speak for all Villa fans when I say that Bruce and the backroom staff should try their hardest to get Johnstone in on a permanent. He is a great young keeper, and has bags of potential. He clearly likes it at the Villa so it is definitely not an unreasonable thing for the Villa fans to want.
Of course, the future of the club could also play a major part. A Premiership side is much more appealing to a Championship for any player with ambition.