According to The Birmingham Mail, Aston Villa face an anxious wait as to whether they can sign Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton on loan in January.
The Clarets are waiting for fellow ‘keeper Nick Pope to return from his shoulder injury before assessing whether Heaton can go out on loan. With Joe Hart already at Turf Moor as well, Heaton would be deemed surplus to requirements should Pope make a recovery.
This is a decision, however, that could make or break Aston Villa’s season. Under Dean Smith, Aston Villa have slowly climbed back up the table, but there are still some glaring weaknesses at the club, one of them being their goalkeeper Ørjan Nyland.
The Norwegian international joined The Villans in the summer, but has looked far than impressive. While he was showing signs of improvement, his recent performance against Nottingham Forest was salient proof that he is not as safe as some fans would like.
If The Lions want to make any serious challenge for promotion this season, they will need someone more dependable between the sticks, and Heaton obviously fits the bill. Nyland could work as a deputy under him, with the hope that he improves his game before next season when Heaton would leave.
This is just a short-term solution to the goalkeeper problem that Villa are facing, but it is a decision that could prove pivotal to Aston Villa’s season.
Being a 3-cap England international, there is no question that the 32-year-old Heaton would be a huge upgrade to Nyland, and surely Smith knows this at Villa Park, and will be desperate for Burnley to let him leave.