Aston Villa opinion: Signing Marcus Bettinelli would be a waste of money
According to the Daily Mail, Aston Villa have been linked with a surprise swoop for Fulham shot-stopper Marcus Bettinelli, with the report claiming that Lions manager Dean Smith is keen to add more depth to his goalkeeping options.
Daily Mail understands that Villa have identified the 27-year-old, who has also attracted interest from Bournemouth, as someone who could increase competition for places between the sticks in the Premier League next season.
The report, however, suggests that Villa have Burnley stopper Tom Heaton and Stoke City’s Jack Butland as their primary targets, as Dean Smith looks to assemble a squad capable of thriving in the top-flight.
Villa have already made the headlines several times this summer with their outrageous spending spree.
The likes of Jota, Wesley Moraes, Bjorn Engels, Ezri Konsa and Trezeguet have come through the door at Villa Park while permanent deals for last season’s loanees – Kortney Hause, Tyrone Mings and Anwar El Ghazi – have also been confirmed.
The Lions’ policy of mass recruitment and complete squad overhaul upon securing promotion to the Premier League has drawn mixed reactions from fans and pundits.
While some seem to believe that new players could set the tone for an excellent return to the top-flight for Villa, others are sceptical after what happened to Fulham last season.
Well, only time will tell whether Villa have done the right thing by bringing in a host of new players from different leagues in Europe, but they are apparently not done yet with their transfer business.
The Lions continue to be linked with a wide array of players, with the deadline in August looming large, and Marcus Bettinelli has emerged as a surprise inclusion in their shortlist of potential targets.
A youth product of Fulham, Bettinelli has been with his boyhood club ever since his childhood but he has found himself in and out of the first-team at Craven Cottage, having made his debut for the Cottagers back in the 2014-15 season.
The 27-year-old made 39 appearances in the Championship in his debut season but he was used sporadically thereafter until the 2017-18 campaign, where Bettinelli made 29 appearances in the league to guide the Cottagers to a promotion-winning campaign via the playoffs.
Bettinelli retained his No.1 role in the earlier stages of the previous season in the Premier League and even earned a senior international call-up from England boss Gareth Southgate for his impressive displays between the sticks.
His honeymoon period didn’t last long, though, as he managed only 7 appearances and largely played second-fiddle to Sergio Rico thereafter. In all competitions till date, Bettinelli has accumulated a total of 106 appearances for Fulham, keeping 27 clean sheets in the process.
To put things into perspective, Villa’s links with Bettinelli is yet another piece of evidence that the Lions are looking to sign anybody and everybody this summer, with a view to ensuring safety in the Premier League.
It is hard to comprehend as to why the Lions are so keen to bring in a goalkeeper who has struggled to nail down a regular first-team spot at Fulham over the past five seasons.
Orjan Nyland started the previous campaign as the No.1 under former manager Steve Bruce in the Championship but the Norwegian looked way too shaky with a brittle defence in front of him before a long-term injury paved the way for Villa to bring in Croatian international shot-stopper Lovre Kalinic in January.
Jed Steer, who was in the middle of a loan spell at Charlton Athletic, was recalled by Villa in January to provide cover for Kalinic but he ended the season as the new No.1 following an injury to the Croatian and played a key role in the club’s success in the playoffs.
However, he has experience of playing only a solitary game in the Premier League, which is probably the reason why Villa are running frantically behind more established options.
Bettinelli, though, has hardly managed to establish himself as Fulham’s undisputed No.1, and in terms of Premier League experience, he is almost at par with Steer.
Nyland probably won’t be considered for a role in the top-flight next season but Villa should show more confidence in Lovren Kalinic, who is highly-rated and had arrived at Villa Park for a sizeable fee.
Hence, it is clear that Marcus Bettinelli won’t be a massive upgrade on Villa’s existing goalkeeping options, and in all honesty, between the sticks is one position where it is needless for the teams to have four players competing for a single role.
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With that in mind, signing the 27-year-old would only increase Villa’s wage bill and provide Smith with some unwanted selection dilemma.