Recently-promoted Cardiff City have registered an interest in the permanent signing of Manchester United keeper, Sam Johnstone, according to The Sun.
The 25-year old was on loan at Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa last season and was an impressive figure between the sticks for the Midland’s side. He kept 20 clean sheets in 45 matches on a run that saw the Villan’s go all the way to the Championship play-off final.
Johnstone was widely expected to sign for Bruce’s side upon a return to the Premier League but since the Championship season ended, Aston Villa have got themselves into a sticky situation. After being threatened with a ‘winding-up order‘ by HMRC, the club’s financial turmoil has been further revealed – sky-high wages for the likes of Robert Snodgrass & John Terry thought to be the reason behind the financial meltdown of the club.
It seems that Cardiff have become interested in replacing Neil Etheridge with the Manchester United star as the Welsh club take advantage of the breakdown of what many believed to be a pre-determined deal. Neil Warnock’s Cardiff side built a campaign around being hard to beat last season and were one of the minority of teams to win against champions Wolves during the course of the season.
The deal makes sense, with the Preston-born goalkeeper a definite starter should he make the move. He’d also be playing regularly in the Premier League, which will surely be an attractive proposition as he’d likely play second fiddle to Sergio Romero as Manchester United’s third choice goalkeeper should he stay at Old Trafford.
Similarly, the deal would make sense for Cardiff. The club was crying out for a new goalkeeper last season as Etheridge’s blushes were regularly saved by a solid defensive unit. Johnstone as a goalkeeper is equally adept at commanding his box, as he is at shot-stopping, and whilst there would be question marks regarding his experience at the highest level, he has more than enough ability to produce regular solid performances in Wales.
His imposing demeanour is suited to the solid football that Cardiff played last season, and his clear leadership qualities would be ideal to help marshal Warnock’s defence.
Johnstone is rated at £2.25m by Transfermarkt but his spell at Villa would have surely seen his market value increase significantly. At 25, he still has time to improve, and will no doubt become a better goalkeeper on the back of regular Premier League football.
It is not yet clear how much Manchester United would demand for Johnstone, although it should not be ruled out that Cardiff could look for a loan move for the goalkeeper.