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Brad Guzan is on his way to England and the English Premier League is about to add another American goalkeeper.
The Chivas USA and U.S. national team goalkeeper is heading to Aston Villa for a transfer fee of $1.5 million after Villa and Major League Soccer agreed to the fee and completed the transfer on Friday afternoon, sources with knowledge of the negotiations told SBI on Friday afternoon.
Guzan had a transfer move to Villa blocked because of his inability to secure a UK work permit, but sources with knowledge of Guzan’s case believe he will secure his work permit now after playing in five of the U.S. national team’s eight matches this year.
The $1.5 million transfer fee is a fraction of the almost $4 million fee Aston Villa agreed to in January, mainly because Guzan is in the final year of his MLS contract and could have left on a free transfer on January 1 had a transfer deal not been made.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 MLS Draft, Guzan was the first draft pick in Chivas USA history and overcame a rough rookie season to develop into one of the best young American goalkeepers in the U.S. national team pool. He posted a 0.93 goals against average, including 13 shutouts, to win MLS goalkeeper of the year honors last season.
The 23-year-old goalkeeper had drawn interest from clubs ranging from Arsenal to Celtic, but set his sights on Aston Villa, where he will instead join fellow American goalkeepers Friedel and Tim Howard in the English Premier League.
Now Guzan is headed to Aston Villa, where the goalkeeper situation is wide open since the return of Scott Carson to Liverpool after spending last season on loan with Villa. Several goalkeepers, including Brad Friedel and Paul Robinson, have been linked to Aston Villa but Guzan appears to be the first goalkeeper signed by Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill.
It remains unclear whether Guzan’s transfer will affect his status as a candidate to be an overage U.S. Olympic team player. The Olympic roster is set to be unveiled on Thursday.