Croatian press are reporting that Lovre Kalinic is edging closer to departing Aston Villa and joining Nantes, with £10,000,000 joining him, and Valetin Rongier coming the opposite way.
Words by Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
There seems to be some rumours that are just not going away for Aston Villa.
One of the more fascinating rumours is being reported by Ivan Zuric at Croatian news outlet tPortal, and it involves Villa goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic.
Kalinic, the 29-year old goalkeeper brought in to Aston Villa in January, seems to want a closer move to his home country of Croatia. Kalinics’ former head coach, Vahid Halilhodžić, is now the head coach of Nantes in France and seems to really want Kalinic to join him. According to the report, Halilhodžić and Nantes have already reached out to Aston Villa about getting Kalinic in the door on loan, but it was not an amicable move for Villa.
Even more interesting is that there seems to be a tangible effort for Villa to swap Kalinic and £10,000,000 for Nantes midfielder Valentin Rongier. Aston Villa could undoubtedly use some depth in the midfield after the release of Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak, and Rongier would definitely be a player who would seem to fit the Dean Smith mould of football.
Rongier, a 24-years old Frenchman, made 36 appearances for Nantes last season. Four goals and five assists aren’t overly massive statistics, but it is his passing from the middle of the pitch that should turn heads. Rongier finished the season for Nantes with a 82.7 percent pass success rate, including 85 key passes. By comparison, Jack Grealish registered 76 key passes for Aston Villa during the latest campaign. Rongier could be a welcomed addition to the defensive side of the ball as well. An adept student of tackling, he made 86 successful tackles on opponents throughout the 2018-19 season for Nantes.
There are many rumours circulating around Aston Villa as July draws closer and closer, but if this deal is to happen, it would be a wonderful piece of business for Villa. Jed Steer has received a new and deserved contract, and Villa are now odds-on favorite to secure the signature of Jack Butland from Stoke City. Kalinic leaving, due to homesickness or otherwise, wouldn’t be a massive blow to Dean Smith’s goalkeeping core. Add in getting a young and able footballer like Rongier, and this could be a very tidy piece of logical business for Aston Villa Football Club.