The Burnley veteran is reportedly actively seeking an exit from Turf Moor. Can Dean Smith and Aston Villa be his respite? Will he be a permanent signing.
There were rumors in previous weeks, but the talk continues to churn about an Aston Villa signing of Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton. Heaton, 32, is an experienced shot-stopper both in the Championship and Premier League.
Recovered after shoulder surgery, Heaton has found himself third-choice after Nick Pope’s incredible displays last season and the summer signing of Joe Hart to a two-year deal. As such, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith believes he can bring-in Heaton as a value signing.
Ørjan Nyland’s shaky displays under two managers has he and goalkeeper coach Neil Cutler presumably kicking the tires on a #1 change. With André Moreira failing to make matchday 18 squads, and Mark Bunn + Jed Steer free agents in the summer, Heaton could be an option, both in the short and long-term.
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Heaton turned himself into an international-caliber goalkeeper after years of riding the bench across the United Kingdom and Belgium. Stints at Manchester United, Royal Antwerp, Swindon Town, Cardiff City, Rochdale, and Wycombe Wanderers prepared him for a season at Bristol City. That 2012/2013 season with the Robins pushed him to Burnley the following season. He then saw promotion, relegation, and promotion again into England’s top flight – in successive seasons.
Shoulder surgery ultimately made him miss out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It also likely lost him his job at Burnley as the younger Nick Pope became the #1 ‘keeper.
With goalkeeper peaks seemingly being pushed further and further back on the aging curve, it’s not unquestionable Aston Villa could get 3+ prime years out of Tom Heaton. He’s a proven volume shot-stopper in the top two flights. If Aston Villa can sign Heaton permanently, there remains a good chance, he’ll be the guy both this year and the years to come.
With Moreira, Bunn, and Steer all off the books come next summer, Heaton and Nyland could be a solid foundation from which to build on at the goalkeeper position.