Aston Villa have been vastly improved under Dean Smith’s tutelage but the club will need to make at least one January signing to give themselves the best possible chance of securing promotion.
An unbeaten run of five matches, consisting of four wins and three clean sheets, has put Villa on the cusp of breaking into the playoff places.
Villa’s most recent 3-0 win over Middlesbrough, a side managed by Tony Pulis, who is famed for his ability to build an unbreakable defence, was indicative of their credentials to return to the top-flight this season.
But there is a suggestion that Villa’s goalkeeper, Orjan Nyland, is lacking the quality to help the club achieve their ultimate aim.
There is no question that Nyland represents a downgrade on last season’s stopper, Sam Johnstone, but Villa do not have to settle for second best when a fantastic goalkeeper is available.
Indeed, according to a recent report from the Daily Mirror, Smith has identified Burnley’s Tom Heaton as a potential January signing, and Sean Dyche will not stand in his way if the Villans can strike a deal.
With Dyche giving the green light over Heaton’s departure, Villa have a glorious opportunity to complete a game-changing transfer.
Heaton has found himself on the periphery at Turf Moor since he suffered a shoulder injury at the beginning of last season, with Nick Pope and now Joe Hart both deputising in excellent form.
His demise at Burnley has arrived as a result of untimely circumstances more than anything else, and his history in the Premier League proves that he possesses the quality to thrive in the Championship.
The 32-year-old would undoubtedly represent a huge upgrade on Nyland, and his calming influence between the sticks could represent the difference between promotion and another season in second tier football.
With 3 England caps to his name and a wealth of Premier League experience, Heaton should be at the top of Smith’s shortlist ahead of the winter window.
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