Earlier this week, we reported that Shay Given was set set to leave the club, with either Middlesbrough or Stoke City touted as a possible destination. Given's departure has been confirmed this evening, with the 39 year old Irishman joining Stoke City on a two year deal.
Given made just 37 league appearances for the club since his arrival from Manchester City in 2011, but his main contribution was his role in Villa's journey to the FA Cup Final this year. Whilst he failed to keep out Arsenal on that fateful day at Wembley, it mustn't be forgotten that it was his saves that got us there in the first place.
For a second choice keeper, Given was on a hefty wage, so I can't really argue his departure, especially now that the club have signed Mark Bunn, who is a perfectly adequate backup option.
Given joining Stoke might not be the end of the story for Villa though. It is widely expected that Shay Given heads to our Northern neighbours to deputise for Jack Butland. Which raises a question as to Bosnian shot-stopper Asmir Begovic's future. There have been rumours linking him to an £8million switch, either to the Chelsea substitutes bench, or to Aston Villa. Keep an eye out for this.
And so, we say farewell to Shay Given. He comes across as a likable guy, but his age and wages made it a given (!) that he would leave. Who knows, we might see him back one day on the coaching staff. And it's fair to say he would be welcomed back to.