Aston Villa are looking to sign Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on a permanent basis, according to the Daily Mail, after he impressed Steve Bruce on loan in the second half of last season – but face competition from Sunderland.

As David De Gea looks as though he might leave Old Trafford this summer to make a big-money move to Champions League winners Real Madrid, it is expected that the 24-year-old will also depart the Theatre of Dreams.

After being one of England’s brightest young talents a few years ago, a lack of regular first-team football has seen SJohnstone struggle to live up to his early hype and a move away is surely the best step for the 24-year-old.

A switch to Villa Park looks like the preferred destination for the former loanee but with reported interest from Premier League sides such as Watford and Leicester City along with Sunderland, who will be looking to earn promotion back to the top-flight.

The Red Devils are supposedly hoping to receive £5 million for the Englishman and after spending over £50 million on transfers last season, Bruce’s men show no signs of slowing down when it comes to expenditure.

As the failed to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, they are desperate to get back to the big time and this transfer would give them a greater chance.

However, possible bids from top flight clubs could see Johnstone’s attention turn to playing in the same division as United to show them what they could be missing out on.

The signing of the youngster would be brilliant for Villa but they will find it hard to warn off other potential suitors.

Sunderland are set to revamp their squad after a dismal campaign and will look to regroup at bounce back from the Championship at the first time of asking.

The Black Cats are ready to sell Jordan Pickford for a big transfer fee and as such could reinvest some of this into buying Johnstone.

The United man played on 21 occasions last season for Steve Bruce’s side and that was just one of nine loan spells he has been on since 2011.

It is certainly about time he settled down for a team on a permanent basis and this summer should be when he signs on the dotted line.


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