Steve Bruce is clearly very fond of Sam Johnstone. Discarding any chance of Pierluigi Gollini being his first choice goalkeeper, despite the Italian only arriving at Aston Villa last summer, Bruce put his faith in Johnstone.
It took a while for that faith to be paid off and whilst it would be an exaggeration to say Johnstone is excelling, the 24 year old put in a great performance against strugglers Wigan Athletic and that’s led to talk of a permanent deal.
Manchester United will need to be convinced, but that shouldn’t be a daunting task. Johnstone extended his Old Trafford contract in 2016, but only until 2018. Joel Pereira was recalled from loan at Belenenses as Johnstone went to Villa, and the 20 year old has already been handed a competitive debut, more than the older stopper got.
The Premier League club don’t have a great sales record on this type of deal, as Bruce already knows. Players like Tyler Blackett, Paddy McNair, Will Keane, Michael Keane Rafael da Silva and Reece James have left for fees lower than may be expected.
Ben Amos, a goalkeeper who represented England at U21 level, eventually left on a free transfer.
If Aston Villa and Steve Bruce are as keen on Sam Johnstone as it appears, then this could be a very reasonable deal.