Steve Bruce confirms talks with Jose Mourinho to sign Sam Johnstone

by Tanveer Arayan

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce has confirmed that talks with Jose Mourinho over securing a permanent deal for Manchester United loanee Sam Johnstone have begun.

The 24-year-old, who has been at Man United since 2009, arrived at the Championship side back in January on loan and went on to make 21 appearances.

Bruce, clearly impressed with Johnstone’s quick adaptation to life at Villa, has expressed a desire to sign the Englishman on a permanent basis over the summer.

And the former United defender, speaking soon after the Championship season concluded with a 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion, revealed that talks had commenced.

“I have had a conversation with Jose on the telephone and I will now be going to see him,” he said.

“We hope there is good news there.”

It is worth noting that Johnstone has reached an age where featuring as a third choice goalkeeper is no longer acceptable. Mourinho will never realistically seek to move him up the goalkeeping ladder at Old Trafford any time soon, even if David de Gea does move away over the summer, and you sense that Bruce’s desire to keep hold of the 24-year-old as a first choice option outweighs the Portuguese’s need for his presence in the reserves next season.

And why, after all, would Johnstone want to walk away from a club that, over the past few months, has quickly developed into something of a home for him? The Englishman, following a shaky first month, went on to claim eight clean sheets in 11 games and will feel like he can progress further next season, perhaps even securing a place in the Premier League for a side that should be challenging for promotion under Bruce.

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