Heaton – Value for money?

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Heaton has been linked to be the new Villa goalkeeper

Aston Villa has had an £8million offer accepted by Burnley for goalkeeper Tom Heaton if you believe reports. Several media outlets including John Percy of the Telegraph have reported the story today.

Heaton is 33 years old and joined Burnley in 2013 when he was signed from Bristol City. The former England international has made 200 appearances for the Clarets during his time and has become a firm favourite at the club. Some Burnley fans have expressed their displeasure that Sean Dyche is prepared to sell the goalkeeper.

The question’s that seems to be on some fans lips is; Is Heaton too old? And should we have stumped up the reported £20million for Jack Butland?

Is 33 too old?

Heaton is an experienced goalkeeper and has been rated as one of the best in the Premiership for a number of years now. In football terms, 33 would be considered old but goalkeepers are a different kettle of fish. 33 is probably a prime age for a goalkeeper.

Gianluigi Buffon returned to Juventus this season and has been assured of game time. The Italian legend is now 41. Since he turned 33 he has gone on to make 320 appearances for Juventus and PSG.

If we look closer to home and look at Premiership goalkeepers, you will also see that 33 is not old for a goalkeeper. Villa plays Tottenham Hotspur in their opening game of the season. Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is just 8 months younger than Heaton. Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester is just 7 months older.

You can also look at two older goalkeepers in Lukasz Fabianski (34) and Ben Foster (36) who I am sure many would welcome to Villa Park. So in reply to the question, is Tom Heaton too old at 33? Hell no!

Why didn’t we stump up the money for Butland?

Personally, if I had a choice of the two, I would probably have opted for Butland. But that isn’t to say that I don’t think Heaton isn’t an improvement on what we already have. The difference is Heaton is reportedly £12million cheaper than the Stoke goalkeeper. He also boasts more experience at the top level.

Villa has a relatively young, inexperienced side when it comes to the Premiership. Heaton could prove to be a Brad Friedel inspired signing. Someone who will add that assurance behind the back four.

Yes, you could argue that we may get Butland for a lot longer but this is football. Who is to say we won’t have another new goalkeeper in 18 months time? We could easily get another 5-6 season’s out of Heaton if Buffon’s career is anything to go buy.

Where does this leave Jed Steer?

Grealish and Steer celebrate the win over West BromJust because we are signing a new goalkeeper it does not mean the end for Jed Steer at Aston Villa. He was crucial in Villa’s promotion and signed a new deal in the summer. Steer can learn from Heaton and competition is good for everyone.

If you look at the side Dean Smith has built this summer, it appears he has tried to make sure we have 2 players in every position. You could argue that we already have Lovre Kalinic and Orjan Nyland but I wouldn’t be surprised if both leave. Either set the world alight since signing for Villa and will most likely want first-team football.

Steer on the other hand has had to battle for first-team football all his career. He proved last season what he is capable of and I am sure by signing Heaton, he won’t just roll over and curl into the corner.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Burnley fan here. Good article, nicely written too which is a rarity on footy blogs! You’re signing a great keeper. Ability wise I’d take him over Butland anyway, Heaton is far more consistent too. He’s a leader on the pitch… another rarity, and you get the impression he is super professional and great around the place. Sad to see him go, but it’s Pope’s time at our place. I wish Heaton all the best, absoute class act! Good luck this season, I’ll be hoping you stop up… as long as it’s not us or you! Cheers.

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