THREE years after a failed move to the floundering Premier League Aston Villa team under Tim Sherwood and Remi Garde, Lovre Kalinic’s name returns to the surface. According to local and national media, the claret and blues are close to securing Croatia’s new No. 1 goalkeeper for £7 million.
We’ve written about Tom Heaton and what felt like the inevitable movement away from Ørjan Nyland as Aston Villa’s starting goalkeeper. We’ve seen the rumors of veterans like Karl Darlow coming to the club.
But I don’t think anyone expected the name drop that came about on Wednesday.
From the Telegraph and Birmingham Mail, Aston Villa is close to signing K.A.A. Gent and Croatia goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic for a deal in the region of £7 million. Does the name sound familiar? It should. Lovre Kalinic was nearly an Aston Villa player three years earlier during the January transfer window of the dreaded 2015/2016 Premier League season. Kalinic was set to be signed, but a work permit never materialized. When Villa fell so far from safety, ownership and executives nixed all moves entirely. Randy Lerner sold the club that summer and the rest is history.
As such, Mathieu Debuchy and Lovre Kalinic never became Villa players that ill-fated season.
Kalinic, 28, is a FIFA World Cup runner-up as he served as Danijel Subasic’s deputy the last few years. Since Subasic’s retirement following the tournament, Kalinic has taken over the No. 1 job. He started in the most recent November UEFA Nations League matches – a 2-1 loss to England and a 3-2 victory over Spain.
Kalinic is a mountain, standing 6’7″. While £7 million represents a pretty serious outlay for a goalkeeper in the second division, Kalinic offers competition for the current group of Nyland, Mark Bunn, and André Moreira. It will be interesting to see what Villa do with Moreira in particular.