The position of Aston Villa goalkeeper has hardly been one that has inspired confidence this season but reports have emerged that a solution may be on the horizon for Rémi Garde’s claret and blue army.
It comes as no surprise that Garde is seeking a new man between the sticks as Brad Guzan, who has struggled for form this term, was recently replaced by understudy Mark Bunn. While Bunn has performed admirably in his appearances so far few would suggest that he is a real long term solution for Aston Villa’s number one spot.
Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija have reported that Aston Villa reached an agreement with Hadjuk Split for the transfer of 25-year-old goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic. According to the report the fee will be somewhere just under £5 million being touted, with a significant amount of this supposedly going to Kalinic’s agent.
Along with Mathieu Debuchy, Kalinic has been the only transfer rumour that has gathered any traction in the January window so far.
Kalinic is a 6ft 7 Croatian goalkeeper who has been capped several times for Croatia’s national side. Having worked his way up through the youth set up, Kalinic has been included in recent Croatia squads and he is likely to appear at Euro 2016; suggesting that national team coach Ante Čačić holds the stopper in high regard. Having previously been linked with moves to Lazio and Besiktas, Villa appear to have sealed the deal first.
Pros and Cons
So what does this mean for the current Villa squad. The most obvious bonus involved with this transfer is the fact that Aston Villa need a new goalkeeper.
The towering keeper would certainly add a physical presence to our defense that Brad Guzan does not and at 25-years-old if Kalinic can make the step up to the Premier League he may solve the goalkeeping dilemma for the medium term, allowing Villa to concentrate on recruitment elsewhere.
[Warning: turn the trashy music off on following Kalinic highlights video]
As with any transfer, particularly from a relatively unknown league to these shores, there will be questions and doubts. Is he good enough? How long would it take him to integrate with the squad and living in England?
Many fans have called for proven Premier League quality players to rescue Villa’s flailing season, having been burned with unknown recruits too often in recent years, but at least this would signal the beginning of some transfer activity for the team this window.
Lovre Kalinic certainly appears to have potential, but whether he can make the step up, and whether Villa really are ready to open the chequebook to sign him remains to be seen.
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