By Graham Hill
VILLA are hoping to make a quick break with keeper Lovre Kalinic after a January move that could hardly have gone worse for the Croatia international – and that will be ideal for both parties.
It was not a good season for Villa and new keepers last season. And in the end, it was the man who had been waiting in the wings for six years who came to the rescue for Dean Smith.
Orjan Nyland’s presence between the sticks did not inspire confidence even though he was a Norway international.
He had his moments, but too many times he was seen as the weakest link.
Step forward Kalinic, 29, who arrived in a £6million deal from Gent. But he proved to be no better – seemingly international keepers do not like the Championship.
And in the end, it took a head injury in the home defeat to West Brom in February to end his time in goal.
It was a strange quirk of fate that Nyland being ruled out for the rest of the season meant Jed Steer coming back to Villa Park – initially to sit on the bench instead of inspiring Charlton’s League One Play-off bid.
Then another injury to Kalinic meant Steer stepping up and showing he was the man for the job after all.
Once he was in goal, Villa stopped leaking goals and Steer produced some inspiring displays.
That meant the writing was on the wall for Kalinic who had a knee operation before the end of the season to make sure he was fit for a possible summer move.
Now, with Jack Butland being lined up for a move to Villa Park, both the club and Kalinic can write off the experience as one that simply did not work out.
It happens. But, for both parties, it is vital that a move is sorted for the Croatian,
He wants out and Villa are moving in a different direction, There is no evidence to show Kalinic is a disruptive influence – far from it – but Villa have suffered in recent years from players not in the squad who hang around like a bad smell.
There is interest in Nantes for Kalinic and it would be best for all if that move happened sooner rather than later.
The 20 Minutes website says the Ligue 1 side are looking at Kalinic as an option even though he made only eight appearances for Villa.