By Dan Carter

19th Jul, 2023 | 3:10pm

Viljami Sinisalo gets Aston Villa audition confirmed as loan signed off

Young Aston Villa goalkeeper Viljami Sinisalo has joined League One Exeter City on loan for the 2023/24 campaign, having spent the first half of last season temporarily with Burton Albion, making eight appearances in all competitions.

At 21-years-old, Aston Villa view the Finnish stopper as an exciting future prospect and while the current incumbent of the number one shirt, Emi Martinez shows no signs of going anywhere anytime soon, the role as back-up at Villa Park is well and truly up for grabs.

Currently, Robin Olsen is Unai Emery’s second choice keeper and has been since joining the club last January, but at 33-years-old, it feels as though there could be a natural progression of the Nordic goalkeeping gloves in the coming years.

Last season, Olsen played only six games in all competitions as he deputised for Martinez, conceding 14 times and keeping a single clean sheet and Villa only managed to win one game in which he featured, leading some to question whether he is a reliable enough option.

The Swedish stopper had a save percentage of 63.2% in the Premier League last year a fair bit lower than Martinez’s 74.2%. However, during his very short spell with Burton Albion, Sinisalo only managed to save 50% of the 20 shots on target he faced, conceding 10 goals in four league starts.

Now this was as part of what was a leaky Brewers’ defence, with Burton’s 79 league goals conceded in the 2022-23 campaign only bettered by bottom of the table Forest Green Rovers (89).

Sinisalo’s new club, Exeter City were comparatively better, only conceding 69 goals last campaign, most of those with former Chelsea keeper Jamal Blackman between the posts, but he has now departed St James’ Park for Burton Albion on a free transfer.

That leaves the Grecians with no obvious number one, with the only other keeper in manager Gary Caldwell being last year’s second choice Gary Woods. The most important thing for a goalkeeper’s development is game time and an opportunity to play an entire season as a number one in the football league could do wonders for Sinisalo’s development.

His time at Ayr United in the Scottish Championship back in the 2020-21 season is the only time he has played more than 20 games a season, managing to keep a clean sheet in seven of his 22 league starts. That was in 31.8% of matches he featured in, bettering Martinez’s impressive record of 30.6% in the latest Premier League campaign.

If Sinisalo is able to replicate his Scottish Championship form while at Exeter City, he may well be able to prove that he is worthy of replacing Olsen in the first team ranks next season.

In other Aston Villa news, Fabrizio Romano has reported that Villa could make a move for winger Jeremy Doku