Since Brad Friedel packed up his razor and toddled off to Tottenham Hotspur, the most important piece in the Aston Villa puzzle has been the signing of a new goalkeeper. Brad Guzan is likely resigning himself to a lifetime of second-best, both with club and country, while Andy Marshall should be named as "Villan Least Likely To Be Recognized." In order to fill the gloves of Friedel, then, the Villa are reportedly chasing Manchester City keeper Shay Given.
Given, aged 35, is seeking a starting role after being pushed to the bench at Citeh, where the ever-present Joe Hart is of course the one between the sticks. The Republic of Ireland, too, would be thrilled to see their keeper earn more playing time, especially considering Group B is one of the tightest in Euro 2012 qualification, and it could come down to goals for / goals against.I've taken it upon myself to be the world's most cynical writer when it comes to Villa transfers, and I don't want to let y'all down. Of course Given would be a good pickup -- he was steady at Newcastle and pretty darn good at Citeh two seasons ago. He seems like a perfectly lovely man. His full name is Seamus John James Given. He was blessed by Pope John Paul. He raises money for cancer. He's Irish, so he fits right into our team philosophy, which is clearly based on only using players whose native language is English.
But I just can't help wondering when the Villa are going to develop their own long-term goalkeeper. We only had Friedel for three seasons. Before that we had Thomas Sorensen for a few years. It's clear that Guzan isn't being groomed in such a manner. Marshall is 36 and will never be our starter. Is it just destiny, then, that we'll keep a keeper for just a few seasons, before sending him on his merry way?
On one hand, I'm thrilled to find a solid veteran keeper that is willing to cut his wages to come on as a starter for Villa. The club needs dependability after the all-around shakiness of last season, and Given and Richard Dunne already have a good relationship. But I still hope that after we sign Given, we start looking around for the keeper we can groom, the one that will be Villa's man for season after season.