Tom Heaton is the last piece in Aston Villa’s Premier League puzzle and will bring much-needed ‘presence’ between the sticks, according to Ian Taylor.
The goalkeeper put pen to paper on an £8 million switch from Burnley, becoming the 11th permanent signing of a hectic transfer window at Villa Park.
Taylor – veteran of nearly 300 games over nearly a decade in claret & blue – believes the England international is a significant upgrade on existing glovemen Ørjan Nyland and Jed Steer.
“I think Tom will bring experience, first and foremost,” said the former midfielder.
“He's an England international, as well, which people tend to forget. He brings a vast amount of experience and is a top quality keeper.
“His presence is maybe what we've been missing. I've got all due respect for the keepers that got us up but we just wanted to get that little bit more quality.
“I think the manager has pretty much addressed the positions he's needed to and Heaton’s the last piece of the jigsaw.
"I think it could be one of the best signings of the whole window, for the price. He's still got years ahead of him.
“Eight million in this day and age is just a snip, isn't it? That amount of money for a quality keeper who has probably still got five or six years ahead of him I think is fantastic.”
Heaton, who came through the academy at Manchester United, cut short a six-season spell at Turf Moor to join the Premier League newcomers and is expected to slot in as number one.
With the signing of midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, Villa’s summer spending is now in excess of £110 million and an extraordinary turnover has seen 18 players go in the opposite direction.
Parallels are being drawn with Fulham’s dealings last summer, who brought in 13 players at great expense but couldn’t avert relegation back to the Championship at the first attempt.
Taylor leapt to the defence of Villa’s approach, refusing to countenance claims that they have changed too much too soon.
“We’ve had pretty unfair comparisons to Fulham and the way they have done things, we’re just replacing players that left,” he said.
“I’ve heard people say we should have only signed three players with the money but we would have only had 12 players in the squad in that case. We needed to make those signings.
“I think you've got no time for players to gel anyway when you come up through the playoffs.
“We had a lot of work to do and the work that we've done extends back quite a few years. It’s part and parcel of football.
“Players have to bed in, they have to learn to work together.”
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