Report shares Dean Smith’s plans to make Aston Villa top talent “anywhere in Europe”
Dean Smith is expected to reign over Aston Villa prospects Viljami Sinisalo and Akos Onodi in pre-season training as he seeks a third-choice goalkeeper, per Birmingham live.
The Villans currently have two senior scorers in the books at Emiliano Martinez and Jed Steer. But Smith hopes to bring depth to the position over the summer after Lovre Kalinic joins Hajduk Split on loan.
Tom Heaton also left Villa Park at the end of his contract last month and has since joined Manchester United. Wayne Hennessey could replace the 35-year-old to add experience between the sticks, with Aston Villa keeping an eye on the free agent.
Crystal Palace has confirmed Hennessey left south London after seven years. The 34-year-old is now free to discuss a move to Aston Villa after returning from duty in Wales at Euro 2020. But the Birmingham side have yet to make a formal approach.
Instead, Smith will provide opportunities for Sinisalo and Onodi to claim the role of Aston Villa’s third-choice goalkeeper in the preseason. Sinisalo has yet to make a senior appearance for the club, while Onodi faced Liverpool in the FA Cup last season.
A coronavirus outbreak has forced Smith to name a string of young talent against the Reds, per The Guardian. It was also the only occasion that Onodi has featured in a senior matches squad so far. While Sinisalo spent last season on loan at Ayr United.
Sinisalo to seize opportunity to impress Smith at Aston Villa
Sinisalo was a regular at Aston Villa in their U23s before joining Ayr on loan, and his time in Scotland should help the Finland U21 international seize his chance to impress Smith.
The 19-year-old has kept nine clean sheets in 29 appearances in all competitions, before a groin injury shorten his loan. His efforts also caught Celtic’s attention. While Sinisalo and Onodi signed new contracts at Villa Park this summer, showing the confidence Aston Villa has in them.
And Aston Villa’s belief in Sinisalo was already high before Smith sanctioned his loan transfer. Ayr’s former boss Mark Kerr told the club website after signing the goalkeeper: “Villa considers Viljami to be one of the best of his age, all over Europe. It is extremely well rated.