Gent and Croatia goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic becomes the first signing in the Dean Smith era. The 28-year-old pens a 4.5 year deal with the club until summer 2023.
Aston Villa Football Club wasted absolutely no time hammering out a deal for long sought after goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic. Three years after a failed work permit application prevented Kalinic from his Birmingham move, the club finally got their man (or the man his club?).
Albeit, under different ownership and management.
The move is expected to cost in the region of €7 million – not an inexpensive move for a goalkeeper in England’s second division. Club CEO Christian Purslow is adamant FFP will not be an issue, but concerns still exist among fans.
Kalinic, Croatia’s new No.1 following the retirement of Danijel Subašic after a FIFA World Cup Finals appearance, instantly boosts a goalkeeping department devoid of a confident starting option. Ørjan Nyland has yet to settle down after his summer move, dropping far too many points in the process via mistakes. Mark Bunn is a back-up No. 2/3 whose contract expires in the summer. André Moreira is on-loan from Atlético Madrid and has only featured in two EFL Cup matches. Villa either want to keep him as a long-term option, or will cancel the loan to free-up a space for a different loan signing.
With a 4.5 year deal in hand, it’s all but assured Kalinic will be Villa’s new starting goalkeeper under Dean Smith. Regardless of what is said publicly, Smith and goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler brought in the 6’7″ shot-stopper to start immediately upon registration January 1st.
Kalinic won’t be able to play on New Year’s Day vs. Queens Park Rangers, but he should be good to make his Villa Park debut on the 5th vs. Swansea City in the FA Cup. The next league match is away to Wigan on the 12th.