Per­fect time to join Villa, vows Kalinic

Birmingham Post - - SPORT -

NEW As­ton Villa goal­keeper Lovre Kalinic be­lieves the club have signed him at the right time.

The Croa­t­ian num­ber one is Villa’s first Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow sign­ing and he be­lieves the club have the a bet­ter ver­sion of him than when they tried to sign him three years ago.

Since the deal that never hap­pened, he has starred in Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018 and now the 28-year-old stop­per is ready to test him­self in Eng­land.

Speak­ing to the club’s of­fi­cial web­site, he said: “Three years ago, I came close to sign­ing - now I’m fi­nally here and am de­lighted to be so.

“I’m three years older and have gained a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence in that pe­riod.

“I will give the best rep­re­sen­ta­tion of my­self on the pitch, that’s all I can say.

“I want to con­tinue to im­prove as well, and be­come the best I can be.”

Kalinic has re­vealed the warm wel­come he re­ceived from Villa’s Aus­tralian mid­fielder Mile Je­d­i­nak upon ar­rival at Body­moor Heath.

“I’m go­ing to the locker room, and Mile Je­d­i­nak sits in and says, ‘You’re a brother’,” said Kalinic.

“I laughed. It’s nice to have some­body wel­come you, even though I did not know him be­fore, but you know how it is in the soc­cer world, you get to know peo­ple and com­mu­ni­cate fast.”

Kalinic’s de­ci­sion to join a Cham­pi­onship club has been crit­i­cised by some on the con­ti­nent who be­lieve a player of his cal­i­bre should be op­er­at­ing at foot­ball’s top ta­ble.

But Kalinic says his move to Villa is one with the fu­ture in mind.

He added: “Every­one has the right to their opin­ion. I can­not and do not want to in­flu­ence it, but I know my way, my qual­ity, and that’s enough for me.

“Let’s look at the list of (Cham­pi­onship) clubs, play­ers, bud­gets, num­ber of view­ers ... Not to men­tion the club’s plans to re­turn to the Premier League.

“After all, it is the most im­por­tant thing for me to be in my head calm and sure that this was a real move.”

> New sign­ing Lovre Kalinic

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