Why Joe Hart could be a useful signing for Aston Villa
According to the Mail (h/t The Sun), Aston Villa are lining up a swoop for former England international goalkeeper Joe Hart, who has slipped down the pecking order under Sean Dyche at Burnley.
The Villans are in the market for a new shot-stopper following a horror knee ligament injury to No.1 keeper Tom Heaton, who is expected to miss the remainder of the campaign along with striker Wesley Moraes and influential midfielder John McGinn.
Heaton, who made his move to newly-promoted Aston Villa from Burnley for a fee of £8million this past summer, had missed only one Premier League game until the end of the year before suffering a knee injury while trying to stop Chris wood’s headed goal in the Villans’ 2-1 victory over his former club on New Year’s Day.
As per the report, Villa manager Dean Smith has called upon the club’s recruitment team to look for some tried and tested performers in the Premier League during the mid-season trading period, insisting that the Villans need plug-and-play recruits to make an immediate impact.
Villa initially looked set for a quieter transfer window in January after signing as many as 12 players as a part of their massive squad overhaul during the summer but injuries to Wesley, McGinn and Heaton in quick succession could necessitate some immediate action.
Meanwhile, Joe Hart has cut a frustrated figure on the bench at Turf Moor this season, with his only appearance for the Clarets since Boxing Day 2018 coming in a 3-1 Carabao Cup defeat to Sunderland back in August.
The 32-year-old lost his place as Burnley’s No.1 between the sticks during the second half of the previous campaign after Heaton recovered from injury and Nick Pope has reclaimed his place as the undisputed first-choice under Dyche this term, leaving Hart to gather dust.
To put things into perspective, Aston Villa have some major issues to sort out before the end of the transfer window and Joe Hart perfectly fits the profile laid out by Dean Smith.
Hart has suffered a significant fall in grace over the past three years but he could still be an excellent replacement for Heaton at Villa Park where the current situation necessitates the recruitment of players with Premier League experience in their CV.
A four-time recipient of the Golden Glove Award in the Premier League and a two-time title winner with Man City, the 32-year-old might no longer be the same player who clocked up 137 clean sheets in 347 games at the Etihad.
However, his wealth of experience at the highest level could possibly hand a massive boost to Villa’s bid for survival.
Villa would probably need to part ways with at least one of their shot-stoppers if they are to secure a deal for Joe Hart, with Orjan Nyland, Jed Steer and Lovre Kalinic the other options available at Smith’s disposal.
Kalinic has struggled to make a positive impression since suffering an injury in the Championship last season while Steer is currently on the treatment table following a calf injury that he picked up while playing against Wolves in the Premier League back in November.
Nyland, who came on as a substitute for Heaton on New Year’s Day, is expected to play a role until a replacement is signed but relying on the Norwegian for the remainder of the campaign is a gamble that Villa simply can’t afford, with the threat of relegation looming large.
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Nevertheless, with Heaton no longer in the mix, Hart would certainly be an instant upgrade on Villa’s existing options between the sticks and the former Man City star might prove to be the difference between survival and relegation for the Villans.