Villa must wait on Milan search before Rein-ing in keeper

AC Milan

Aston Villa will have to wait to sign Pepe Reina as AC Milan search for a replacement, the goalkeeper's agent has claimed.

Following the recent season-ending knee injury to Tom Heaton, and with back-up Jed Steer facing at least another two months out as he recovers from a calf injury, boss Dean Smith has made the recruitment of a goalkeeper one of his top priorities this month.

Smith still has a further three international goalkeepers on his books in Norway’s Orjan Nyland, Croatia’s Lovre Kalinic and Matija Sarkic of Montenegro, who was recalled from his loan at Livingston after Heaton’s injury.

Yet Smith is close to luring former Liverpool No.1 Reina back to England following negotiations with the Rossoneri this week.

The 37-year-old, who spent nine years at Anfield from 2005 to 2014 and made 394 appearances, has featured just once for AC Milan this season, and 13 overall since moving to the San Siro in the summer of 2018.

As back-up to Gianluigi Donnarumma, manager Stefano Pioli has made it clear to agent Manuel Garcia Quilon, following the latest round of talks, that Reina will only be allowed to leave once another goalkeeper is in place.

Speaking to Sky Italia, Quilon confirmed: “There’s no agreement. We continue to negotiate, but the Rossoneri would like to bring in a replacement first.”

It is understood the deal in place for Reina is a short-term six-month contract, with a year extension should Villa retain their place in the Premier League.

At present, Smith’s side are one place and one point above the relegation zone and host reigning champions Manchester City on Sunday.

Nyland has done well since being brought in following Heaton’s injury but is likely to make way for the more experienced Reina should the deal be agreed.