Brad Guzan stands less than nine hours away from having the course of his professional career determined by a work permit panel in England.
The Chivas USA goalkeeper is set to make a transfer move to Aston Villa, but the close to $4 million move is contingent on Guzan securing a work permit. He doesn’t have the national team appearances to get one through normal means so he must leave his fate up to a work permit panel that will determine if he is worthy of a work permit.
If Las Vegas had a line on Guzan’s work permit I think it would be at about even money right now. I know work permits have been tricky in years past (Bobby Convey anybody?) but the pedigree of American goalkeepers in England coupled with Guzan’s own resume should earn him the nod. I’m sure Guzan’s people will compare Guzan’s track record with Tim Howard’s track record just before he signed with Manchester United in 2003 and consider them similar situations. Howard did have Man U behind him as well as the potential for a Hungarian passport, but I think Guzan’s case is a strong one.
If and when Guzan does join Villa it will make for an interesting battle between he and English national team goalkeeper Scott Carson for the starting job. Carson is far from a lock to hold on to the job, especially when you know Villa has no intention of buying him after his loan spell runs out.
Is Aston Villa really a better option than Celtic? I believe it is. Yes, Celtic is a lock for Champions League play every year, but there are plenty of weeks when the Hoops go untested in the top-heavy SPL whereas Guzan will face stiff competition almost every week. He will also be playing for a top manager in Martin O’Neill and have a chance to grow with a team already filled with young talent.
We will find out soon enough whether Guzan has been given the go-ahead to move to England and when we do, it should spell another important chapter in the impressive recent history of American goalkeeper.