Aston Villa have been handed a significant boost in their reported pursuit of Wayne Hennessey…
Crystal Palace have officially confirmed that the Villa transfer target has left Selhurst Park to become a free agent. His contract expired at the start of the month and the south London club have made it clear that he will not be re-signing with the Eagles.
Sky Sports claimed that Aston Villa and Chelsea are both interested in snapping up Hennessey on a free transfer to bolster their goalkeeping ranks ahead of next season. Palace confirming that he is now free to join another club is a big boost to Dean Smith’s side, as they can now speak to the Wales international and complete a swoop for his services.
One of the toughest positions in which to recruit in football is the backup goalkeeper. With outfield signings, there is always a chance that they can force their way into the side through impressing off the bench or in rotation in the league, and they have the luxury of being able to play in several roles. For example, Anwar El-Ghazi can play in the number 10 role, on either wing or as a centre-forward, giving him a plethora of ways to get into the starting line-up each week.
Goalkeepers do not have that option and that means a backup will arrive knowing that their game-time is likely to be rather limited unless there is a major injury to another ‘keeper at the club. Emi Martinez played every single minute in the Premier League for Villa last season, which meant that every other stopper was left watching on. Therefore, Smith needs a player to come in who will be content with that possibility, whilst also having the quality to play if needed.
Speaking about Hennessey and Neville Southall ahead of the European Championship this summer, Leicester shot-stopper Danny Ward hailed the former as an unbelievable custodian and an “inspirational” man.
The 28-year-old said: “Two unbelievable custodians for Wales, which is quite a lot to live up to, but it’s something I embrace, especially when you’ve got Wayne still there, still with me. He has us in fits of laughter every day so it’s inspirational.”
This suggest sthat the £36,000-per-week veteran has a great personality behind the scenes and would be a fantastic addition to the changing room, even if he is not going to be playing regularly. Therefore, the fans could love him at Villa Park with his infectious personality and ability to make people laugh, as Ward explained, which could make him a cult figure at the club without even playing.
He has also made more than 180 Premier League appearances throughout his career, with an average WhoScored rating of 6.68. This shows that he is capable of being a steady pair of hands if called upon, which is another reason why Villa fans would likely be happy with this piece of business if the club pulls it off.