clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

It's so hard to Shay goodbye - Given set to join Middlesbrough

The 39-year-old Irish keeper is reportedly moving to the Championship club on a free.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Aston Villa's situation between the sticks may have become even more unclear on Tuesday night. The Telegraph reported that Shay Given, who had one year left on his contract, is set to join Middlesbrough on a free transfer. Brad Guzan, the American keeper currently playing in the Gold Cup, looks to have reclaimed his spot as the starting keeper, for now. This move comes after Villa's interest in keepers such as Asmir Begovic and Tom Heaton, suggesting that Sherwood wasn't satisfied with either Guzan or Given as his number one going forward.

Given will be returning to Middlesbrough with a good reputation, having spent a few months on loan there in the 13-14 season. His time at Villa was certainly interesting - his form was always up-and-down, and he even spent time as an assistant to Paul Lambert after Gary Karsa and Ian Culverhouse were suspended. Given was crucial to Villa's FA Cup run this season, making a number of key saves to keep them in the tournament, and after Guzan's now infamous error against Manchester City, Sherwood seemed to have more confidence in the Irish net minder.

Given's large wages have been well-documented, and that money could be spent better elsewhere. Guzan has been a fantastic keeper for Villa, and was dealt a harsh punishment for a poorly timed mistake. Both keepers have their weaknesses - Guzan has always struggled with his distribution, but his presence in the box and in the air is impressive, something which the smaller Given struggles with.

So while Guzan is now the de-facto number one (assuming that the report is true, which doesn't seem crazy in this case), Sherwood could still be in the market for a new goalkeeper. Jed Steer was very much a Paul Lambert player, having played for him at both Norwich and Villa, and his display in Villa's last-day defeat to Burnley didn't inspire much confidence. Benjamin Siegrist, the highly-rated youngster, has yet to feature in a Villa shirt, and while his future looks bright, I would hesitate to depend on an unproven player, and his injury at the end of the season means we'll have to wait anyways. Regardless, I've always liked Shay Given, and wish him luck at his new club.