The regional newspaper claim Villa would have loved to have extended the stay of former loanee Johnstone after his 18-month spell at Villa Park.
The Birmingham Mail report that might have been possible had Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens’ takeover “arrived just a few weeks earlier” of a summer marked by massive change off the pitch.
Given the hurdles Villa had to overcome this summer, with the takeover averting financial abyss after ex-owner Tony Xia ran out of cash, it is understandable there was a strong element of chaos to their squad re-shaping. Some impressive late-window deals, most notably the loan captures of proven attackers Yannick Bolasie and Tammy Abraham, gives a sheen to the rebuild that provides Steve Bruce with a decent platform to secure promotion at the third attempt. But it is in goal and defence where the main question marks over placed over the Midlands big hitters. Johnstone was a key player last season and West Brom certainly thought so as they acted quickly and decisively to land him for a big-money fee of an initial £6.5million (source: BBC Sport). He has made an immediate impact at the Hawthorns and Darren Moore’s side will be confident they have the most capable keeper in the Championship on their books. Villa can only look on enviously.