For those supporters with a great memory of the club’s past transfer activity, the name might ring a bell. During the 2015/16 campaign, Tim Sherwood and company tried to sign the 6ft7in (i.e. 2,01 m) goalkeeper from Hadjuk Split in the January transfer window.
By that point in the season, Kalinic had already tallied an impressive 12 clean sheets in 20 appearances for Haldjuk Split. Unfortunately the move never materialized because the Football Association denied him a work permit -- the bureaucratic process any Football Manager player loves.
A year later after having continually played well in his native country’s first division, the Croat completed a move to Belgian side KAA Gent for just over £3m. Since then Kalinic has made 88 appearances in all competitions for Gent. In those matches he has kept 29 clean sheets, including 5 in the current campaign.
It is now far more likely that Dean Smith and Aston Villa can complete this deal in a few weeks time. This is the case because the giant keeper has been between the sticks for the Croatian national team 14 times since he was denied a work permit -- including one appearance in the 2018 World Cup.
If the claret and blue manage to finally bring Lovre Kalinic to Villa Park, it would bring some much needed healthy competition for the enigmatic Ørjan Nyland as Mark Bunn and Andre Moreira do not appear to be playing Championship football anytime soon.
As yet, there is no mention of what the transfer might cost Villa. However, with CEO Christian Purslow recently reiterating that Financial Fair Play rules are not a concern, it seems a real possibility that the club will soon have another first team keeper on its roster.
Here is a look at Kalinic’s recent body of work: