Monday, February 6, 2023

Aston Villa Make £7m Approach For This England International: Does Smith Need Him In The Team?

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Anas Molla
An ageing teenager who apparently still likes Twenty One Pilots and HIMYM. Also fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythology and history. Still waiting for my man Milos Raonic to win a Grand Slam.

According to The Sun, Aston Villa have submitted a £7 million bid for Tom Heaton. The Burnley custodian has been identified as the ideal target for the Villans as they aim to bolster their goalkeeping department this summer. It is believed that the veteran ‘keeper is unsettled at Burnley after rejecting a new contract offer and a move away from Turf Moor could be on the cards.

The report claims that Burnley value Heaton much higher than what Aston Villa have offered. But, they could be forced to sell the goalkeeper as his current contract at the club expires at the end of next season. That means they could run the risk of losing him for free next summer.

Tom Heaton’s spell at Burnley

A product of the Manchester United youth academy, Heaton has been a part of the Burnley side since 2013. He has mostly been a first-team regular for the Clarets since their promotion in the 2014/15 campaign. In fact, the 33-year-old notched up 200 competitive appearances during his ongoing six-year spell at Burnley.

However, his status as a first-choice ‘keeper was diminished when the veteran suffered an unfortunate shoulder injury in the 2017/18 campaign. He missed a chunk of that corresponding season, which, in turn, allowed Nick Pope to become the first-choice Burnley ‘keeper.

That being said, Pope has since lost his place in the side, and the goalkeeper slot was shared by Joe Hart and Tom Heaton last season, with each featuring in 1,710 minutes of league football. And same will likely follow in the upcoming campaign unless the 33-year-old ends up leaving the club this summer.

What can Heaton bring to the table?

Heaton is a reliable goalkeeper, who can remain calm under pressure while his tall 1.88m frame allows him to cover a large area in goal. The ex-Cardiff City ‘keeper averaged 3.1 saves per game last season, which is considerably less than Joe Hart’s tally of 4. But, he did make 22 saves from outside the box in just 19 matches, which is indicative of his shot-stopping prowess from long-range.

Should Aston Villa make a move for Heaton?

Aston Villa currently boast the services of three first-team goalkeepers in the shape of Jed Steer, Orjan Nyland and Lovre Kalinic. But, none of them has the experience of playing in the Premier League. Therefore, the addition of someone as experienced as Heaton could be a massive boon for manager Dean Smith.

However, the Villans have also been linked with a move for Jack Butland, who would undoubtedly be a better option when compared to the 33-year-old. But, it seems like the move is now off – making Heaton the ideal target for the newly promoted Premier League outfit. 

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

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