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For £7m, this 6ft 7in Croatian giant could be an outstanding signing for Dean Smith’s Aston Villa

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Why Aston Villa should go all out for Lovre Kalinic in January

According to a report from Sky Sports, Aston Villa are interested in signing Gent goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic in January. The report claims the 28-year-old would cost around £7million with his current club Gent seemingly set to lose their prized asset.

Lovre Kalinic has been a long-term target for Aston Villa, who, in fact, had agreed on a deal to sign the goalkeeper back in 2016, only for the transfer to collapse due to a lack of a work permit.

Lovre Kalinic, who started his career at Hajduk Split, was a part of the Croatia squad that reached the 2018 World Cup final in Russia. However, he has now become the nation’s No.1 shot-stopper following Daniel Subasic’s retirement.

Aston Villa rekindling their interest in the Croatian goalkeeper could be down to Orjan Nyand’s shaky performances this season. Nyland joined Aston Villa from German club FC Ingolstadt earlier this summer but has made some costly errors in his first season at the club. The Norwegian came under heavy criticism in Villa’s entertaining 5-5 draw with Nottingham Forest last month.

Nyland has had a rough time in his short career at Villa Park but he has also enjoyed a bit of resurgence under Dean Smith. The 6ft 4in goalkeeper produced arguably his best performance against Middlesbrough earlier this month, suggesting that he has all the tools to star between the sticks for Aston Villa.

But for a side chasing promotion this term, they simply cannot afford to have an unreliable presence in goal and despite Smith having backed Nyland since taking the reins at Villa, the Norwegian has failed to repay the manager’s faith on the whole. That said, signing Kalinic makes complete sense for the Midlands club.

Kalinic has been one of the most underrated goalkeepers across Europe for some time now, having won the Belgian Pro League’s goalkeeper of the season award back in 2017 while helping Gent reach the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time.

The 6ft 7in ace is a commanding presence in goal and never shies away from barking out orders to his teammates while defending set-pieces or corners. He has a safe pair of hands and while his distribution remains questionable, the Croat’s European pedigree would make him a terrific fit for Villa.

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Kalinic will certainly solve a lot of Villa’s defensive problems. He is clearly an upgrade on Nyland and would be a real coup for Dean Smith’s Villa as they push for promotion this campaign.