After last night’s draw with Bristol Rovers, Roberto Di Matteo will have a clearer idea of some of his senior players’ abilities.
One senior player the new manager has not been able to assess has nevertheless been in the spotlight. According to The Telegraph, Guzan is to be allowed leave Aston Villa on a free transfer.
John Percy of The Telegraph wrote on Tuesday that “Aston Villa are ready to grant Brad Guzan a free transfer in a bid to speed up his move to Middlesbrough.”
Whoever came up with this idea should be given a medal: it is good to see the club putting pride and ambition over money. We may have been able to get a few million for Guzan but, considering the player only has one year left on his contract and is one of many players on ridiculously high wages, it probably makes sense in the long run to move him on. Where Guzan ends up remains to be seen but I believe he will be on several clubs’ radar now.
As much as it is a relief to see him finally go after several bad seasons, it’s worth mentioning that this goalkeeper has had some good times at Villa Park.
Bought in 2008 for under £1 million, he was always seen as the number two goalkeeper behind Brad Friedel. For four years he never really had a chance to compete in the first team and when Shay Given signed after Friedel left Guzan’s patience was, understandably, wearing thin. He left the club on a free transfer in 2012.
Within a month, after Paul Lambert had taken over at Villa Park, Guzan was re-signed and moved straight into the number one position. That season, he was voted the fans’ player of the year award for his role in keeping us up. Due to this, his contract was extended, keeping him at Aston Villa for the next four years.
The following season, Guzan was dropped after an awful mistake at the Ethiad Stadium when he mis-kicked the ball, allowing Sergio Aguero to tap in and give Manchester City a 1-0 lead. Guzan’s howler left new manager Tim Sherwood no option but to drop him, with the FA Cup final on its way.
Given was given a last chance to shine in a Villa shirt but the years were catching up with him and losing the FA Cup final will always be a sore point for the Irishman.
At the start of last season, Guzan was given the number one spot back. Fans had grown tired of his lack of communication with the back four, his decision making and generally poor goalkeeping when the Villans needed a dependable goalkeeper the most.
If I could head back through the time tunnel and change the club’s fortunes, I would never have re-signed him. He was never going to be a top goalkeeper. After the woeful season in which we were embarrassed in the FA Cup final, someone should have realised that we needed a fresh face between the posts. Now, I can only hope that he goes, reducing the wage bill. With Mark Bunn, Pierluigi Gollini and Jed Steer in the squad, it seems clear that Guzan isn’t going to be our number one. I thank Di Matteo for realising the need for a new goalkeeper and acting quickly. Guzan had his moments but he won’t be remembered particularly fondly.