Aston Villa closing in on Brad Friedel

Aston Villa closing in on Brad Friedel

Americans Abroad

Aston Villa closing in on Brad Friedel

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In an apparent attempt to secure a monopoly on all top American goalkeepers named Brad, Aston Villa is closing in on a $5 million move for former U.S. national team goalkeeper and Blackburn star Brad Friedel.

Friedel is looking to leave Blackburn after long-time manager Mark Hughes left Ewood Park and Villa is in the lead to secure his services. Some reports have called the deal already done, but conflicting reports say the deal is not yet complete.

With a Friedel to Villa move looking like a strong possibility, it will set up an interesting situation for goalkeeper Brad Guzan. While some folks in the United States might have thought Guzan was heading to Aston Villa to start, it is clear that the Villains are looking for a veteran goalkeeper to step in and start, as well as to groom Guzan for the eventual starting role.

There may be no more perfect player to do that than Friedel, who like Guzan, played in MLS and can help with the transition to the European game. Friedel is also 37 years old and winding down an impressive European career. The ideal scenario would be to have Guzan serve a two-year apprenticeship under Friedel before taking the starting job (with Friedel possibly returning to MLS). Between events such as Carling Cup and early rounds of the FA Cup, as well as potential reserve games, Guzan would have a chance to see playing time even if Friedel continues his remarkable streak of 175 consecutive EPL starts.

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