Steve Bruce has a lot of pull for players, he’s the reason why John Terry is so interested in joining us - and his influence allowed us to grab Sam Johnstone from Manchester United on a loan. However, his pull won’t be enough to grab the permanent signing of Johnstone, who is set to join Middlesbrough in a cut price deal according to reports.
Something has went extremely wrong in this deal somewhere - Johnstone knows Villa, and he knows he’ll get first-team football; however the lure of Boro and Garry Monk has made him turn his back on Villa’s offer.
Aston Villa would do well to end their pursuit now. This saga has dragged on long enough, and the time spent persuading Johnstone to sign for Villa over Boro could be time spent finding another goalkeeping target. With Pierluigi Gollini in Atalanta, Mark Bunn and Jed Steer are Villa’s current goalkeeping options, with Matija Sarkic and Brad Watkins waiting in the wings - but this is not good enough right now. If Villa want to challenge for the title this season, they are going to need to find a good goalkeeper in record time.