Last Updated: 21/12/18 3:37pm
Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith says signing Lovre Kalinic will lead to a healthy competition for the goalkeeper’s jersey.
And Smith is hoping to further strengthen his squad during the January transfer window.
Croatia international Kalinic will join the club in January and has agreed terms on a deal which will keep him at the club until 2023.
“He is one that has been on the radar for the last three or four weeks, so really pleased to have got him in,” Smith said.
A Villa vs Leeds
December 23, 2018, 1:00pm
“He is the Croatia number one goalkeeper at the moment and one that we have targeted – and thankfully Jesus (Garcia Pitarch, Sporting Director) has got the deal done.
“Myself and (goalkeeping coach) Neil Cutler have been looking at him for a while – and what I believe he will do is bring the competitiveness in the goalkeeping department up to where we need it at a football club of this size.
“He is a big six foot seven lad, and he will command his box. He distributes really well, he is good with both feet. and he is a good personality, who will fit in well for us straight away.
“His first game will probably be the FA Cup game (at home to Swansea on January 5).”
Smith has eighth-placed Villa in the thick of the play-off race and he hopes Kalinic will not be the only arrival next month.
“There are many irons in the fire but nothing that we are really close with at the moment,” said Smith. “The one thing we want to do with each signing that comes in is to improve the squad.
“We certainly believe the Croatia number one goalkeeper will do that and certainly push Orjan (Nyland) – but we also need players to come in and push the other players in the squad.”