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Jul 11, 2008

Guzan set to leave MLS for Aston Villa

After falling short in his bid to depart Major League Soccer for Europe earlier this year, Brad Guzan is finally set to leave MLS for England.

The Chivas USA goalkeeper is heading to Aston Villa on a $1.5 million transfer after Villa and Major League Soccer agreed to the fee and completed the transfer on Friday, sources with knowledge of the deal confirmed to ESPNsoccernet.

Guzan had a transfer move to Villa blocked after failing to secure a British work permit in January, but it is believed that Guzan 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 fee is less than 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, 2009, had a transfer agreement between MLS and Aston Villa not been reached.

The 23-year-old goalkeeper had drawn interest from clubs ranging from Arsenal to Celtic, but set his sights on Aston Villa and will now join fellow American goalkeepers Brad Friedel and Tim Howard in the English Premier League.

The goalkeeper situation at Aston Villa is wide open since the return of Scott Carson to Liverpool after spending last season on loan with Villa. Several goalkeepers, including Friedel and Paul Robinson, have been linked to Aston Villa but Guzan appears to be the first goalkeeper signed by Villa manager Martin O'Neill.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 MLS Draft, Guzan was the first draft pick in Chivas USA history and endured the growing pains of being a rookie goalkeeper on an expansion team before developing 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.

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