Aston Villa could land a transfer bargain in recently released Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli this summer.
With Tom Heaton having already made his departure to Manchester United, and Lovre Kalinic returning to Hajduk Split for a season-long loan, Dean Smith’s side are very short on goalkeeping cover for number one Emi Martinez.
Now, The Daily Mail claim that the Midlands club are one of a number of teams interested in picking up Bettinelli on a free transfer this summer, with Chelsea and Arsenal also said to be in the running for the 29-year-old.
The 6 foot 4 titan spent last season on loan at Middlesbrough in the Championship, but has played in the Premier League before with Fulham, with former Cottagers boss Scott Parker raving about the kind of professionalism and character that he’s shown.
He said: “I’m fortunate enough to have both of them – (Marcus) Bettinelli and him (Marek Rodak). They’re both very good ‘keepers. At this present moment in time Rodak’s got the shirt.
“(But) I know for sure, when I talk about character, that there’s someone behind him in Bettinelli who’s got plenty of that and will push, and push, and push. Like I said, I’m in a very fortunate position to have two such good ‘keepers.”
Villa will know first-hand just how good Bettinelli can be on his day, having been an instrumental part of the side that beat the Midlands club twice back in the 2017/2018 season when Steve Bruce was in charge.
The 29-year-old shot-stopper kept clean sheets both home and away, registering Sofascore match ratings of 7.1 and 7.0 respectively. Despite facing a total of 19 shots at his goal over the two encounters, Villa simply couldn’t find a way past the former England U21 international.
Being available on a free, and having had previous top-flight experience too, Bettinelli seems like the perfect back-up option to Martinez for next season, and it’s a move Johan Lange must absolutely make to reinforce the club’s goalkeeping positions.