By Peter Lynch

20th Apr, 2023 | 1:30pm

Aston Villa find ideal Emiliano Martinez replacement in Caoimhin Kelleher as Fabrizio Romano tweets

Aston Villa have been handed a boost in any potential goalkeeper search after Fabrizio Romano shared the news that Caoimhin Kelleher could be on the move this summer.

The Liverpool shot-stopper is reportedly keen on more minutes on the pitch, having played second fiddle to number one Alisson in recent years.

But the Republic of Ireland international has shone when given the opportunity, with many Premier League clubs fully aware of his potential to be a reliable number one.

Unai Emery does, of course, have a superb number one in World Cup winner Emiliano Martinez, but like many of his talented teammates, interest has risen in the goalkeeper amid their superb Premier League campaign. As per Goal, Serie A giants Juventus are interested in the Argentine’s services.

While it will take a huge fee to persuade Villa to let go of their World Cup hero, Emery may just have a thought in the back of his mind of which player to bring in should Martinez leave.

And 24-year-old Kelleher may just be an option he should be considering, with the Reds youngster on the verge of leaving Anfield.

“Understand Liverpool could also look at new back up goalkeeper in the summer as Caoimhin Kelleher hopes to get more minutes as regular starter elsewhere next season,” Romano wrote on Twitter.

“Many clubs are already showing interest in Kelleher loan deal in case Liverpool gives the green light.”

One club reportedly among those “showing interest” are Unai Emery’s Aston Villa, according to The Transfer Room, but only if Martinez does indeed leave at the end of the campaign.

An initial loan move certainly wouldn’t be the worst plan of action from Villa if the Midlands outfit do pursue the goalkeeper this summer, in a move that would allow the club to gauge just how talented he is and how well he would fit in at the club.

Kelleher last played for Liverpool in an FA Cup third round replay against Wolves in January, where the goalkeeper kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory.

His impressive display, where he made two saves and won his only aerial duel, earned him a SofaScore match rating of 7.3, bettered by only four other players.

And in his two other matches this season, League Cup ties with Manchester City and Derby, he saved eight of the 11 shots he faced [FootyStats], conceding three goals against the former and keeping a clean sheet against the latter.

And it was in the third round victory over the League One side where Kelleher showed one of his best attributes, saving three Derby penalties to ensure the Reds progressed to the next round.

If Villa do lose Martinez, Kelleher’s potential transfer will make sure the club keep a penalty-saving specialist between the sticks.

Keeping the ball and playing out from the back meanwhile is a strong preference of Emery’s, and Kelleher showed his ability to keep the ball with 32.2 passes per game and a 73.4% passing accuracy for the Reds this season, as per WhoScored.

The young goalkeeper has undoubtedly learned a lot from Brazilian Alisson, but just three appearances in all competitions is perhaps not what Kelleher envisioned at this important stage of his career.

In other Aston Villa news, one academy star took a huge step forward in his already burgeoning career after being named in Unai Emery’s match-day squad against Newcastle on Saturday (15 April).