Time is running out for Brad Guzan’s career at Aston Villa. With Tim Sherwood wanting a new starting goalkeeper as one of his primary transfer targets this summer, the new Villa boss is trying to capture the signing of Asmir Begovic from Stoke City. Considering that Guzan was dropped from the first team when he was replaced by 39-year-old Shay Given in the final third of the season, Guzan now faces the unenviable prospect of being third in line at Villa Park.
So with the Premier League’s transfer season heating up and Guzan included in the roster for the Gold Cup, should Guzan look for a new club or be content with sitting on the bench next season? In my opinion, Guzan’s best bet is to leave Villa while he still has the chance, and seek the starting position at another club. Guzan should not waste his last years rotting on the bench especially if Guzan wants to take over Tim Howard’s gloves as starting keeper for the USMNT.
The journey for the Illinois native is not as simple as it may seem, USMNT Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann wants his players to start and get as many minutes on the field as possible but he also prefers his men in Europe over the domestic MLS league. This transfer season seems to have a lot of shuffling going on for EPL keepers, but with all of the changes, Guzan’s name has not been mentioned. This could be a problem if he wants to be a mainstay for an English club.
The news surrounding Begovic is that he is not likely to leave Stoke unless he’s going to be promised a starting position. So Guzan has the option to fight for his position, or simply request a transfer. Guzan started off the season with two back-to-back wins but was conceding a lot of goals. However, Villa boss Tim Sherwood initially stuck with the American until the final four games where Guzan did not see any field time at all.
If the Begovic transfer does indeed happen, there’s likely going to be a lot of talk surrounding Guzan returning to the United States and starting for a MLS team. He would certainly earn the starting position at a number of teams, and despite a rocky finish to his previous season Guzan is the most likely starter heading into the Gold Cup. Klinsmann also tapped Nick Rimando, starting keeper for Real Salt Lake, but left out Bill Hamid and decided to bring Leon’s William Yarbrough instead.
At 30 years old, Guzan is not quite yet on the back-end of his best years. Guzan could reasonably have a number of healthy years ahead of him. However, the Gold Cup is probably not what Guzan is looking ahead to. It’s Russia 2018.
Speculation around Howard’s time off from the National Team was in order to give Klinsmann time to find his next starter and Guzan is poised to get his first World Cup start heading into 2018 but most likely will not get the gloves if he’s not playing.
So if Guzan is interested in keeping his starting role for the U.S. Men’s National Team, he would do well to look for employment outside of Villa Park. Where he goes, either back to the United States or somewhere else in Europe, is up to Guzan. All that is certain is Klinsmann is not going to keep starting a keeper sitting on the sidelines. Minutes talk and Guzan is not getting any at Villa next season.
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