By Jonty Banks

1st May, 2023 | 12:10pm

Aston Villa join Chelsea and Newcastle in race to sign Fleetwood Town sensation Stephen McMullan

Aston Villa have joined Premier League duo Chelsea and Newcastle in the race to sign Fleetwood Town goalkeeper Stephen McMullan, according to The Sun.

McMullan, 18, signed a long-term contract with the League One outfit earlier this season and secured a clean sheet on his first senior appearance for the Cods in their 1-0 win over MK Dons.

Newcastle are currently favourites to sign the Northern Ireland Under-19 international, but Aston Villa are also looking to bolster their goalkeeping ranks at Bodymoor Heath with his acquisition.

Villa’s current stoppers, Emi Martinez and Robin Olsen, remain doubts for a long-term future at the club, with Martinez reportedly wanted by Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and Juventus and Olsen struggling under Emery this season. [Football Insider, 20 February]

And although McMullan would unlikely be thrust straight into the first-team limelight, he is certainly a talent who could be the long-term successor to Martinez if the Argentine remains at Villa Park.

The Fleetwood sensation signed a first professional deal with the club at the beginning of this season but was soon after persuaded to sign a long-term contract in the January transfer window.

McMullan has a 100% clean sheet record for Fleetwood, failing to concede yet from his two FA Youth Cup appearances and one League One appearance.

The goalkeeper also made his Republic of Ireland debut in November 2021, before switching his allegiances to feature for Northern Ireland Under-19s a year later.

If McMullan were to join the Aston Villa ranks this summer, he would likely drop into the goalkeeping reserves within the academy, with Viljami Sinisalo, Oliwier Zych and James Wright.

However, considering the likes of Chelsea and the Magpies are interested in his services, the shot-stopper is clearly a youngster that is well-regarded within English football.

Although just 18 years old, McMullan could be a talent worth gambling on.

In other Aston Villa news, Christian Purslow is keeping his promise to the squad after a player arrived at Bodymoor Heath ahead of a potential transfer.