WalesOnline are reporting that Aston Villa’s search for a new addition to their goalkeeping corps has taken a small setback in that an initial eight million pound bid has been rejected for Neil Etheridge by Cardiff City. This story has also surfaced in the Express and Star.
It had emerged in the past day or so that despite the fairly competent performances of Jed Steer in the Villa goal, that AVFC would be broadening their horizons and searching for a new goalkeeper. From these latest reports, it would seem that Etheridge - at the very least - is on Aston Villa’s radar.
And why not?
The goalkeeper himself has enjoyed an impressive few years at Cardiff City, including at Premier League level. What’s more, he’ll fit in at Aston Villa - he’s worked with the Head Coach himself, Dean Smith, as well as Neil Cutler at Walsall FC. But does that make this particular deal too easy of a link to make? Yes - but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not happening. Occam’s Razor and all that.
However, while Etheridge is a fantastic goalkeeper, is his talent ceiling that much higher than Jed Steer’s? I’m not certain. If, as rumoured, Aston Villa are after a new goalkeeper then surely they will be looking for a figure with a certain amount of experience with international caps at a high level. Those type of goalkeepers are few and far between, and they cost a lot of money. The Cardiff keeper won’t cost that much, and his boss - Neil Warnock did state that if a big enough bid comes in, he’ll drive Etheridge to his new club himself; and no, that is no barb aimed at the keeper by his manager!
After Etheridge’s performances over the years, the Bluebirds are entitled to demand a larger fee from Villa, but here’s something - why can’t Villa sweeten that deal by offering a loan deal for one of their keepers in return? There’s still room to manoeuvre in the deal, but it’s going to cost Villa a bit more since Etheridge is so highly-rated by his current side.
While AVFC might want to be a bit more ambitious if they are that desperate to add a new goalkeeper, that is always going to come with a cost and a cost that is going to be so much higher than Neil Etheridge’s valuation. What would you do? Let us know in the comments section below.