Rumors of Brad Guzan switching to West Ham in a $8 million plus deal surfaced in the British tabloids this morning.
The USMNT ‘keeper has had a stellar campaign for Villa, with many citing him as the main reason for the Birmingham-based clubs revival in recent weeks.
However, this is Guzan’s first-season as an established EPL regular. Previously he found himself behind Shay Given and others in the pecking order but now he is firmly Paul Lambert’s No. 1. And don’t forget Lambert saved Guzan’s EPL dream, after former Villa boss Alex McLeish had released the goalkeeper last year, only for Lambert to hand Guzan a new contract when he took over at the club.
So would Guzan switch his allegiance to the EPL’s other side wearing claret and blue?
I think not.
The former Chivas USA goalkeeper is adored by the Villa fans, is settled in the area and has won many plaudits this season. Sure, West Ham may pay more and with the impending switch to the Olympic Stadium in London, Guzan could be playing in front of 60,000 fans every week. Add to that the Hammers big plans of challenging for Europe after they move into their iconic new stadium for the 2014-15 season.
But he is likely to remain loyal to Villa.
Guzan is 28-years-old, which would signal four or five years left at the top level for any outfield player. But ‘keepers are completely different. Guzan could play in the EPL for another 12 or 13 years at least. Look at Brad Friedel still playing for Tottenham Hotspur at the ripe old age of 42.
Guzan has time on his side. But with Tim Howard not much older, the Villa ‘keeper may have to think about making a move elsewhere to try and oust Howard from the USMNT’s starting role.
Ultimately, regular soccer and the chance to continue showcasing his talents in the EPL will drive Guzan’s decision. The speculation considering his future is a great thing. It proves he is wanted and further underlines the admiration other clubs, managers, players and pundits have for the incredible season he’s had.
Long may that continue.