The Aston Villa fans in the Transfer Tavern are feeling quietly confident about the prospect of clinching promotion this season, and as such, they are beginning to look forward to the summer transfer window.
A few weeks ago it appeared that Villa might be set to make a late bid to finish inside the automatic promotion places, but a handful of poor results have made that dream something of an impossibility. However, the Villans look set to finish in the Play-Off places this season, and unless they suffer an almighty collapse during the final weeks of the season they will certainly have a chance to return to the Premier League before the season is over.
Villa’s goalkeeper Sam Johnstone – who is currently on loan from Manchester United – has been one of the most impressive contributors to their climb up the table so far this season. The 25-year-old will have completed almost 18 months with the club once his current season-long loan deal expires at the end of the season, and although the supporters are eager to see him remain at Villa Park, they must consider the possibility that he could depart the club.
Johnstone’s departure would be a tough blow to take, but there are plenty of quality goalkeepers for Villa to pursue who could adequately replace him. One of those stoppers is the current Newcastle United number one, namely Martin Dubravka (valued at £2.7 million by Transfermarkt). Like Johnstone, Dubravka is also currently on a short-term loan deal with the Magpies, but the quality of his performances since his January transfer suggests he is ready for a permanent switch to the Premier League.
The Slovakian international who has twice won the title in his native country has been a revelation on Tyneside. Newcastle were going through something of a goalkeeping crisis prior to his arrival, but Dubravka has been a calming influence and an instrumental figure in his side’s climb up the table since he signed from Sparta Prague.
Whether or not Newcastle will turn his temporary deal into a permanent one remains to be seen, and with uncertainty surrounding the ownership situation and Benitez’ future, it seems unlikely that securing a deal for Dubravka is an immediate priority for the club.
Bruce should take advantage of that fact in the summer if they are unable to secure a new deal for Johnstone, as Dubravka’s presence between the sticks would give his side every chance of securing their survival in the top-flight.
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