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Villa given the green light for first signing of the summer

Manchester United are ready to offload Sam Johnstone, if Villa can find the cash

Newcastle United v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

According to The Daily Mail, Sam Johnstone is set for the exit door at Manchester United - even if goalkeeping stalwart David De Gea leaves to play for Real Madrid in the summer transfer window.

Sam Johnstone is clearly surplus to requirements at Old Trafford as both Sergio Romero and Joel Pereira are favoured by Jose Mourinho over Johnstone. This would make Johnstone Manchester United’s fourth choice, and at best third choice, goalkeeper.

Johnstone was initially available for a loan until recently - but now is firmly on the transfer list due to the lofty evaluation of Pereira at the club. This means that Aston Villa can sign the young Englishman on a permanent deal - should they find the cash.

Aston Villa haven’t run out of cash, but are closely flirting with a breach of Financial Fair Play regulations for the Championship. This is because of their gargantuan wage bill, so before Villa sign anyone - they need to sell. It’s very much a ‘sell-to-buy’ policy, but more for reasons of sustainable operations than any desperation at the club.

Johnstone’s asking price is rumoured to be around the five million mark - and that has piqued the interest of both Leicester City and Watford. Aston Villa have a lot going for them though - Steve Bruce is quite close to Manchester United for obvious reasons and is well-respected there. Villa also gave Johnstone a home for half a season, and Johnstone would be guaranteed first-team football at Villa, whereas his situation at Watford and Leicester would be as second, or even third choice.

So, If Aston Villa want to make Sam Johnstone their first summer signing - they have the all clear. They just need to stump up the cash with a sale.