Goalkeeper becomes the main priority now

Aston Villa have attracted a long list of players from across Europe since survival was guaranteed on the last day of the Premier League season.

Strikers, attacking midfielders, wingers and fullbacks have all been shortlisted but it now appears that one position has jumped to the top of the priority list.

A goalkeeper is number one target for Villa as Tom Heaton has confirmed that he is not ready for competitive action following an ACL tear on 1 January.

Speaking to Villa TV, Heaton confirmed he is looking past the opening three games and targeting a return to action after the first scheduled international break.

He said: “I think the start of the season, unfortunately, has come too soon. When lockdown happened I earmarked it as a possibility.

We’ve only got three league games up until the international break. At the minute I’ve got my eye set on that, whether the medics agree I’m not so sure. That certainly gives me enough time, it’s eight-and-a-half weeks from now to get right and, fingers crossed, we’ll see how it plays out.”

Dean Smith and co will have to examine whether he can trust Jed Steer, Lovre Kalinic or Ørjan Nyland abilities for the first three games, with attention turning to buying a new ‘keeper to challenge the number one spot.

Four first-team ‘keepers is a suitable number with squad registration rules, but departures are likely to play a part.

A bid was reportedly made for Aaron Ramsdale, however, he chose Sheffield United while Manchester United’s Sergio Romero has speculated to come in reverse of any Jack Grealish transfer.

The frequent mention of the targets is minimal once looking past the Argentine international. So, who else should Johan Lange and the transfer team be looking at?

Long-term target Jack Butland has been made available for £8-10million and should be a target. The Stoke City keeper is good enough to claim the number one spot, while not upsetting the applecart if he was made to sit on the substitute bench behind Heaton.

The other option would be Robin Olsen who has been put up for sale by AS Roma. The Swede shot-stopper impressed during the World Cup in Russia and his Scandinavian links to the sporting director could make negotiations easier.

Angus Gunn, Luca Zidane and Ben Foster are also possibilities that should be considered in coming to Villa Park.

If a goalkeeper is a target then they only have three weeks to complete a deal. Who would you like to see between the posts next season?