The Guardian have claimed that Aston Villa and AFC Bournemouth may have just received a big boost in their bid to sign Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton, after the England stopper turned down a new deal at Turf Moor.
Due to long-term injuries to Nick Pope and to Heaton last summer, Sean Dyche was left with little option but to sign another goalkeeper. He drafted in Joe Hart, but that now leaves Burnley with three England goalkeepers.
Hart started in goal throughout the first half of the campaign, before Heaton won his place back in the side. Pope’s shoulder injury kept him sidelined until January, but he has managed just three outings.
One, or even two of the three England internationals could leave this summer and 33-year-old Heaton could be the first to go after rejecting a new deal. Heaton has just 12 months remaining on his current deal.
Rejecting a new offer, Burnley are likely to sell in order to bring in some cash for his services – and that has seemingly put both Aston Villa and Bournemouth on high alert, with the belief they can land him for a bargain.
Villa have got to sign Heaton. Yes, Jed Steer was fantastic for the Midlands club towards the end of the season. But as harsh as this is on Steer, he is not the calibre of goalkeeper required in the Premier League.
Lovre Kalinic is already reportedly in talks about an exit, with French side Nantes keen. Orjan Nyland was a questionable signing from the start, though the Norway cap remains on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Heaton is perfect. On the cheap, plenty of experience and leadership and the knowledge of how to survive in a relegation battle. It is a no-brainer for Dean Smith.