Latest reports from the Express suggests that Leeds United target Tom Heaton is likely to join Aston Villa in January. This should come as a massive blow for the Whites who are currently much better placed than Villa in the Championship to qualify for the Premier League through direct promotion spots.
Heaton had endured a tough time in the past one and a half year as he missed the majority of the last campaign due to injury. In his absence, Nick Pope deputised for Burnley and the Englishman’s performances were impeccable. As a result, even when Heaton was fit again, Sean Dyche continued using Pope in goal. Also, let us not forget that Heaton was also the regular club captain before injury brought him down. The 33-year-old would have most likely been on the plane to Russia with the England squad if not for his injury and Pope ‘nick’ed his place in the World Cup roster as well and Heaton had to be satisfied with being on standby.
This season the tables turned, and Pope got injured and dislocated his shoulder which required surgery. As a result, the Englishman was set to be out for a lengthy period. Incidentally, Heaton was also suffering from some minor injury issue then and almost as an emergency, Dyche had to sign Joe Hart who has put in strong performances so far and has been the no.1 in goal.
Heaton would definitely be frustrated with what has gone on so far, and a keeper of his calibre should be playing regularly. It seems like the experienced goalkeeper is willing to step down to the Championship to continue playing as the no.1.
Leeds United are in desperate need of a goalkeeper right now, and they should go after a new signing in January after Jamal Blackman broke his foot while playing for the u-23. Bailey Peacock Farrell’s performance has been far from impressive, and the 22-year-old has been behind some glaring errors which have cost the Whites heavily. Someone like Heaton coming in can take this team to the next level.
The Englishman isn’t just a brilliant goalkeeper but a good organiser and a leader of a side. Such a presence in the Leeds’ backline would really help them in their promotion pursuit. However, with Villa being the favourites right now, Marcelo Bielsa should step it up in January to sign the England international.
United are also linked (according to this exclusive report from the Express) with custodian Wes Foderingham, and the Rangers man can come on a permanent deal in January. Therefore that could be one of the reasons why United are not too keen on Heaton as it is likely that Burnley would let Heaton leave only on loan. However, we believe even if it is a six-month loan spell, Heaton should be the man for Bielsa as he can really boost United’s chances for a promotion.