‘Ticks boxes’ – The shock Aston Villa transfer link that makes complete sense – Ashley Preece

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Aston Villa’s shock interest in Bournemouth’s Aaron Ramsdale appears to be hotting up – despite Sheffield United already having a bid in the region of £18.5 million accepted.

Various reports today have outlined how Dean Smith’s looking to hijack United’s keeper move as Chris Wilder looks to replace Dean Henderson who’s since returned to parent club Manchester United.

As for Villa’s interest, it appears genuine and makes total sense given a string of telling factors. No.1 Tom Heaton isn’t expected to be fit for the Premier League curtain-raiser on September 12 while, in reserve, Smith isn’t totally sold on either Orjan Nyland or Jed Steer in the Premier League.

(Image: TIM EASTHOPE/BIRMINGHAM MAIL)

Nyland, if you remember, was bombed out of the starting XI after ricks that almost cost Villa in games against Sheffield United and Wolves two months ago. The Norwegian’s contract will expire next June, too, and, as it stands, he won’t be offered a fresh deal, meaning his disappointing Villa career is drawing to an end.

As for Steer, he’s back after a nasty Achilles injury sustained last November in the defeat to Wolves. The 27-year-old signed a new four-year deal last summer and represents a solid back-up option for Heaton ahead of the new campaign.

Villa’s interest in Stoke-born Ramsdale, meanwhile, ticks a lot of boxes. He was a star performer for struggling Bournemouth last term, impressed Smith and goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler throughout and was awarded their player of the season having only missed one Premier League game for the Cherries.

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The England under-21 international – via WhoScored – had a 67.5 per cent save success rate, while only two goalkeepers made more saves than Ramsdale (125) in the Premier League in 2019/20. The youngster also made more saves than Villa’s four goalkeepers (116) combined last season.

With this potential deal, it hints at Smith preparing for the future with Heaton, 34, at the tail-end of his career. There will be injury concerns over the England stopper, too, and Smith will want a durable and proven Premier League goalkeeper to provide Heaton with stiff competition and, after his breakthrough year last season, Ramsdale has all of the necessary credentials in abundance.

Make no mistake, Heaton will be seen as Villa’s No.1 for the foreseeable future but a signing of Ramsdale’s ilk will be a shrewd move given his age (22), ability and development to grow into a future England international.

Last summer, Smith made a huge statement by telling everybody how his No.1 priority was to sign a goalkeeper with Premier League nous while he continued to admit how he was desperate for more Premier League experience sprinkled over his young and naive squad.

In short, though, you can see why there are loud noises coming from Villa’s interest in Ramsdale. They seriously struggled without Heaton last term and need real quality between the posts should the current No.1 not be fit in time for the start of the season.

The fee for Ramsdale (£18.5 million) appears hefty but goalkeepers of his ability are priceless while his young age represents it would be a deal that’s seen as a long-term one, meaning the ex-Wimbledon man could well be seen as Villa’s No.1 for the years ahead. He’s a talented boy and talent comes at a price. Villa’s goalkeeping situation needs addressing, too. It’s a deal that works for me, but Villa must act quick to stop Wilder landing his man.

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