Aston Villa makes close to $4 million bid for Guzan



                                                                                  Photo by ISI Photos

Just when you thought Brad Guzan was ready to don the green hoops of Celtic, Aston Villa has stepped in and taken control of the chase for the Chivas USA goalkeeper.

Villa has upped its transfer offer for Guzan to approximately 2 million pounds, doubling the reported 1 million offer made by Celtic, sources told SBI on Monday. If you’re not good at converting currency, Villa’s offer ads up to an almost $4 million bid for the 23-year-old goalkeeper, surpassing the transfer fee Manchester United paid for Tim Howard in 2003.

The looming issue with a Villa move is whether Guzan could secure a work permit in England. There is some belief that Guzan would have an easier time securing a work permit in Scotland (Don’t ask me why, that’s what I hear).

The decision is now up to Guzan. Does he take the bigger Aston Villa offer and battle it out with Scott Carson for the No. 1 job (and potentially replace Carson, who is on loan from Liverpool), does he sign with Celtic and serve as understudy to Artur Boruc, who seems destined to leave Celtic this summer, or does he stay with Chivas USA until the summer, when he can sign a pre-contract and move a step closer to a free transfer and bigger payday?

What do you think he should do? Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Major League Soccer, MLS- Chivas USA, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to Aston Villa makes close to $4 million bid for Guzan

  1. Gino says:

    Without question, Villa. It ain’t safe for a keeper at Parkhead.

  2. doug says:

    Go to Villa. Martin O’Neill is building something special in Birmingham with good young players like Ashley Young, Gaby Agbonlahor, and Sean Maloney. They have an American owner which cant be a bad thing for Guzan. Also even though they have Scott Carson, he is always prone for an error or two so Guzan could push to start fairly soon

  3. says:

    Aston Villa.

  4. Carl Setterlund says:

    Aston Villa, no doubt! Martin O’Neill has got that team headed for Europe next season, and he’s established a lot of stability there for him to learn. There will be competition for the job but it’s not unreasonable to think he could win it at some point. Also, though Celtic is possibly the better club, he’ll play at a higher competition level in England.

  5. usnavysrchief says:

    Aston Villa Definitely. Carson is just on Loan at Villa right now and if they spend this money on Guzan right now and he proves to be as good as Carson then they don’t have to pay upwards of 10 million pounds for Carson which has been the rumored asking Price for him. Looks good for him to at least getting a shot at Villa. O’Neill is a great manager and the Team is moving up.

  6. Jamie says:

    I hope he goes to Villa. I also like what O’Neil is building there. As Carl points out, he has got them heading for Europe. Though, they have absolutely no depth and likely won’t be there for very long.

  7. Roblar says:

    …and O’Neil has experience working with American keepers too!

  8. randall says:

    wow, i think villa would be an AWFUL move.

    you want him to go to an english team with an english national team keeper? what- do you guys never want to see guzan play a club match again or something?

    maybe im paranoid remembering (a still in form) keller being benched for paul freakin robinson, but unless theres a very clear plan for carson to be sold then i would much, much rather it be celtic.

  9. EDB says:

    Being a Villa supporter, I hope he goes there. Since it will be the best for the club, but I can see him wanting to go to Celtic where he might not have to be rushed into a starting spot.
    Also will he have to get a special work permit like EJ to play for Villa? How does permit work to play for Celtic?

  10. Carl Setterlund says:

    re: randall

    I know Carson would probably have priority over Guzan this year because he has the match experience at a crucial time when Villa are trying to compete. However, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the American goalkeeping situation seems in better shape than Brits. They would absolutely die to have Tim Howard right now. There’s no reason Guzan isn’t as good a keeper as Carson, it’s mostly that Carson is a Brit starting in the EPL that makes you perceive that he’s better. I think Villa is the smarter move for Guzan. That’s a solid club right now in the toughest league in the world arguably.

  11. Barry U says:

    I am torn. Either move would be good in my opinion. But since Villa are paying double then Villa it is. I like Martin O’neil as a manager and they have alot of good young guys he can grow with. Also, they have an american owner and a young american defender in Eric Lichja (not sure if i got that right) at the club. And Mo Edu might show up there soon – Villa becoming Fulham 2? Really this is a win – win situation for Guzano!

  12. Chris H says:

    If he’ll be a starter at Celtic, then Celtic. That’ll get him Champions League football and put him on the world stage.

    Being backup at Villa woulg be better than being backup at Celtic, though. Better chance of being picked up by another Premiership side and would also get FA Cup games, etc. Always a chance Carson gets picked up by the likes of Arsenal, etc. also.

  13. Pat says:

    I think this would be a TERRIBLE move for Guzan. Celtic was a good move, this is not. Carson is the England #1 right now, and Villa recently decided to sign him longterm from Liverpool. Where does that leave Guzan. Sitting on a bench for years? He’d be better off at Chivas. Celtic was the good move because he would potentially be penciled in to replace Boruc in the summer. At Villa, who knows when he’d play. He’d be to Villa what Carson was to Liverpool.

  14. Richard, UK says:

    Carson is still only on loan. O’Neill won’t pay the $16 million transfer free for him. Guzan would possibly be 1st choice next season.

    However, I’d rather live in Glasgow than Birmingham.

  15. randall says:

    im not saying that hes better than carson, or that he needs to go where he will start this season- just that (all things being equal) i dont see an american getting a nod over an english keeper there.

    he wont start at celtic either, but next season i think he could challenge for the spot. i dont think he would get the same chance at an english keeper in england (even if he were a better player, ie keller/robinson).

    but someone mentioned carson was only on load- i wasnt aware of that. take carson out of the picture and i would certainly prefer villa as far as team potential and league comp.

  16. Blist says:

    Unless Celtic has some kind of in with the Home Office that Villa doesn’t (which I suppose is possible), there is no way it is legally possible that it’s easier to get a WP in Scotland than England.

    For the billionth time, these are national (UK) employment laws here, not league rules. It would be just as hard for Guzan to get a work permit in Wales.

  17. CACuzcatlan says:

    Unrelated to Guzan, but have you been following the press conference for the CONCACAF Champion’s League that’s going on right now?

  18. George H. says:

    Villa. If he’s able to secure the work permit, he’ll be in a better league with a better manager. Plus, a bigger take for him in the transfer fee.

    The Robinson/Keller analogy that someone made isn’t really applicable. Keller was part of the old guard at Spurs and the new manager (Santini or Jol, I don’t remember) brought in Robinson. In this scenario, O’Neill is bringing Guzan so he must rate him.

  19. Sandro says:

    Although I like Aston Villa, I think Guzan should go with whatever team will give him more starts which sounds like that might be Celtic. If he doesn’t get a lot of starts it might affect his position in USMNT. Regardless it is good position for him to be and good for the development of soccer in US. I don’t suggest for him to go back to Chivas because you never know how things may end up next year, and whom might be interested.

  20. MikeinSD says:

    I say wait until the summer transfer window.

    More teams and more money will be involved and he will be in good form too.

  21. Dannyc58 says:

    This is an easy one! Villa.

    Carson is not very good in my opinion, he (Guzan) could beat him out THIS year.

  22. Il Consigliere says:

    I think Villa would be a good spot for him. Taylor has been decent at best in his few appearances as back-up, and since Carson is on loan, someone can still swoop in to sign him permanently. I think Guzan would be #1 or 2. I think it is the same at Celtic though. Just because Bouric might leave does not mean Celtic will not sign a few keepers. And please refrain from the Scott Carson is the England #1. He has made 2 appearances for England, and I believe only 1 was a start (and he let in a howler against Croatia. He may be the future, but he isn’t there yet. And I also don’t agree with the “he won’t play in front of an England keeper” argument…MON will play the guy he thinks is best…that is how he manages his team…

  23. Ed says:

    Any word on the salary offers for Guzan? Sure Villa is offering double the transfer fee, but what’s in it for Guzan? Is the salary offer double also?

  24. Dannyc58 says:

    How is Carson the #1 for England? Capello hasn’t named a squad yet, and my boy Robert Green absolutely dumps on the face of Carson.

    I wonder if Carson even makes the 1st squad.

    I think Green, Joe Hart and David James do.

  25. Ed Ho says:

    First, yes, he should go now on transfer to any of these clubs if he can get a work permit. If he fails to get a work permit, Bradley needs to have him play in every US national team game (at least a half) for the next 6 months, so he can go during the summer window).

    As far as which team, I think Villa is a better choice because – as we saw with Tim Howard – if he doesn’t get time there, he would still likely find a good home in the Premiership.

    Plus, at Villa, at least I can watch the games on FSC.

  26. Congrats to Guzan. Personally, I hope he foes to Villa.

  27. says:

    Wow, never noticed it before Ives posted that pic – Guzan has Kasey Keller-pattern baldness!

  28. Johnny says:


  29. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I’m usually the first nay-sayers about the reflexive “EPL love” that goes on with American fans. I usually hope and pray that guys like Altidore and Bradley go to Italy or Spain instead.

    But this is one time when the choice is clearly to go with the EPL. Villa. If he wants a chance to beat out Howard for the #1 shirt, he needs to go to Villa and win the starting job there.

  30. Dannyc58 says:

    If Tony says Villa, I think we can close out comments on this thread…he’s a Prem hater! 😉

  31. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    Tony, (as usual) has it right. Villa Guzano! don’t even think twice, (unless it is for Italy or Spain)

  32. StartaRevolution says:

    He should stay! Chivas have a legitimate chance at winning MLS Cup this year. Every year they get closer and I think they will recognize the opportunity and keep their best chance in Guzan. Guzan knows that he will gain nothing from bench riding and he is still young so getting playing time is important and at the GK position many of the best keepers in Europe ARE much older. For my money he is probably better than Boruc and Carson but the dissillusionment with American talent in Europe will hold him back. An easy payday now or a stellar career (and multiple later paydays) into the future? Hmmmmmm. LA is the place to be.

  33. EDB says:

    Starta, i don’t know how closely you follow the prem, but American Keepers are very highly thought of.

  34. KingSnake says:

    Go to Celtic: Play in Europe.

    Go to Aston Villa: Wallow in mid-table mediocrity.

  35. Dannyc58 says:


    You don’t follow the Premiereship, do you?

  36. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Now danny, I’m not a prem hater.

    I do hate Route 1 football, however, which is the fall back style for all mediocre EPL teams….

  37. dwbpnm says:

    Villa seems to be a perfect situation he’ll have the rest of the year to settle and compete with Carson. Assuming he shows well they’ll let Carson return to Liverpool and he’ll be the starter next year. This is perfect since he won’t have to deal with the pressure of being a starter when he’s also trying to settle in with the team and a new country. Also I doubt Villa will be keeping Carson no matter what since the hefty price tag seems a bit out of Villa’s reach for a keeper. In regards to Villa vs. Celtic, Villa will provide much better competition to play against. Yes Celtic is in the champions league every year but this usually only provides 4 games against top competition per year(the top 2 teams in the group stage since one team is usually from somewhere random). Add that to the 3 or 4 games a year against Rangers and you get a total of maybe 8 games against top competition. Villa plays 8 games/year in the EPL against the likes of ManU, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool plus the likes of Everton, Spurs, etc. are better than anything in Scotland outside of Rangers. Then there is the possibility of additional games against teams of this caliber in domestic cup competitions and later stages of the UEFA cup(which seems to be where Villa is headed). So in summary he’ll get paid at least as well, be nearly guaranteed the starting spot next season, and face better competition. Where is the hard decision?

  38. kpugs says:

    Rather than get in to how crazy some of these theories are, as always, I’ll just point out I can’t see how he’ll get a work permit to play in England, even with Aston Villa appealing what’s sure to be an initial rejection.

    I’m pretty sure the reason it’s easier in Scotland is because obviously the home nations all have their own separate FAs, it’s as simple as that. And if this drags on for another 3 days and falls through guess what? Guzan is going NOWHERE, because the transfer window will be closed.

    I don’t see how there is even a decision to be made here. It’s Celtic or bust.

  39. Dave says:

    Not a good decision for Guzan if this article is true…..

    link to

    I remember reading this and I haven’t heard anything yet which dismisses it. If Carson’s move is not permanent could be a good deal, but the chances of Boruc leaving appear much higher.

  40. soyjimador says:

    come back to CHIVAS, gusano. you know you want to 😉

  41. Dannyc58 says:

    Tony, I kid! I know you love Le Arse…

  42. Jamie says:

    Dave, that article is 3 months old, and while nothing has “contradicted” it, I understand that a financial amount has not been agreed to between AVFC and ‘Pool, and with Carson playing well, his price (rumored to be between 8 and 10 million) could be a huge stumbling block to completing the deal.

  43. Mayor Bloomberg says:

    Dave, Carson wasn’t sold. He’s still a Dippers player.

    link to

  44. dwbpnm says:

    kpugs, the national team appearances standard for getting a work permit is thrown out the window for GKs. Villa will use the same argument ManU used for Howard: Guzan is young and talented but since he is a GK it is very difficult to crack the national team, especially the US team which is extremely strong at the GK position. ManU used this argument with success for Howard(anyone know the amount of caps Howard had at the time compared to Guzan?) when the depth of US GKs was Friedel and Keller. Now you can add Hahneman and Howard to the list of top level American GKs. On the merits Guzan has a much better argument than Howard did at the time. Although he won’t have ManU’s clout so we’ll see how it turns out(my guess is he gets the permit).

  45. NateinSF says:

    I believe that Howard holds a Hungarian passport, which helped him at Man U.

  46. dwbpnm says:

    Howard didn’t have the passport at the time and I’m not sure if it ever came through since he may have dropped the pursuit of the passport once he got a permit. Now that you brought that up though I remember the thought was that part of his argument for the work permit was that he might have a Hungarian passport in ~6 months meaning he’d then automatically get the work permit so why refuse it now. Anyone know if Howard ever actually obtained the passport? Either way Howard’s success should help Guzan on appeal since their soccer resumes going into the EPL are similar and Howard has since won a GK of the year award and solidified his stature as one of the top goalies in the premier league.

  47. Haig says:

    “Go to Aston Villa: Wallow in mid-table mediocrity.”

    Amazing how so many latecomers to soccer have no idea how clubs rise and fall. It wasn’t too long ago that Chelsea and Arsenal were usually mid-table finishers, and Leeds and Wednesday were regularly at the top. Everton in the last fifteen or twenty years went from being a top team to almost being relegated a couple years in a row to being back near the top. Go back twenty-five years, and Ipswich and Nottingham Forest were at the top. Hell, even Man U finished in the bottom half four years in a row in the late 80s/early 90s.

    There are a handful of clubs with a lot of supporters and big stadiums who, for whatever reason, have underachieved badly in the last decade, without ever having a Leeds-like catastrophy befall them. Spurs, Newcastle, and Villa come to mind. Assuming that there nothing ever changes near the top of the Premier League demonstrates a total lack of familiarity with the competition.

  48. Dave says:

    Jamie and Bloomberg,

    Well aware nothing had been made official with Carson and the article was a few months old, but my point was it looks like Villa had been more likely to lock Carson up then let him walk at the end of the season. Even if they bid for Guzan with the intention of not making any move for Carson permanent because they want to see how both look head to heard, everything is still up in the air. My point was that all the indications have been so far that it is more likely you’re going to see Boruc playing for the rosseneri than Carson for the scousers…..

  49. Matt says:

    Tim still had to apply for a work permit.

    In all honesty, I can’t see either happening with the transfer window closing in three days.

    Of the two, Villa would be a great move and challenge for Guzan.

  50. Haig says:

    “Anyone know if Howard ever actually obtained the passport?”

    It takes five years with a UK work permit to be able to claim ILR (permanent residency) status, which obviates the passport issue altogether. So Howard should obtain ILR this summer.

  51. dwbpnm says:

    Haig I agree with you mostly but there is a thought out there that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the stature of clubs to change because of the massive differences in revenue a club like ManU, Arsenal, etc. bring in compared to clubs like Villa. Some of this difference is due to competing in the Champions League which obviously can change(to some extent) from year to year but much of the difference is due to the massive international following the top clubs have developed. This does not change overnight and as people around the world choose a European club to support the gap widens–> more consistent success –> more foreign fans and cycle is created which makes a “smaller” club like Villa’s ability to make it to the top increasingly difficult unless they find an Abramovich.

  52. devil's advocate says:

    “Just when you thought Brad Guzan was ready to don the green hoops of Celtic…”

    Actually, Guzan would be more likely to don the yellow keeper jersey. Unless he’s got a hidden striker talent we don’t know about.

    I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist. And all the intelligent thoughts were used up in the first 51 comments.

  53. dwbpnm says:

    My last post made me think how much has the final 16 of the champions league changed from year to year over say the last 10-15 years? Off hand I think there are at least 7 teams, ManU, Arsenal, Madrid, Barca, Milan, Juve(not the past two years but they’re headed back that way), and Bayern who are in it almost every year. Add to that list Chelsea who certainly look like they’ll stay in that group as long as Abramovich is around and thats half of the knockout stage which doesn’t really look like it will change for the foreseable future.

  54. Haig says:

    dwbpnm, I don’t necessarily disagree with the idea that the established “super” clubs that you mentioned will sustain their success because of a huge advantage in revenue.

    But it really isn’t hard to imagine a situation where a club with a lot of support and a big stadium gets a benefactor who spends the money to boost the team. Abramovich already did it, though Chelsea usually finished top five before, the ex-Thai PM at Man City is spending, etc. Villa has Lerner and O’Neill and is the major team of the second largest city in the UK (sorry Birmingham City). They’re a club on the rise, and it would be a great opportunity.

  55. Ted says:

    I don’t see a work permit being a problem. The entire idea behind the work permit system, including industries outside soccer, is that the person you are bringing in will be a valuable contribution, that they will be an above average member. It’s there to prevent bad workers or players from flooding the workplace.

    Guzan is an above average keeper, with excellent credentials and tons of potential. The fact that he has made 5 caps while playing behind three Premiership keepers and at times, the likes of Matt Reis, is impressive. The tribunal will know that.

    I’m not a huge fan of British soccer in general (like Tony mentioned, Route 1 style is too prevalent), but it will give a goalkeeper as much chance to show his stuff as Serie A or La Liga. I think with Villa he has a better chance of being a starter.

  56. mexicanbluefish says:

    Either move would be fantastic. He gets a chance to fight for time (become better, hungrier) and this can only help us.

  57. East River says:

    Wow, never noticed it before Ives posted that pic – Guzan has Kasey Keller-pattern baldness!

    Yeah you know Guzan is well on his way to being another world class American keeper when his hair started falling out. Soon he will have to decided between the Keller look or shave it all off like Brad F and Marcus H:-)

  58. papa bear says:

    A big part of me says go for the money (he will beat Scott Carson out; Carson is good but Guzan is markedly better)
    But the lure of essentially Guaranteed Champions League can’t be ignored.
    Ultimately, I go to Villa if I was him since I can’t imagine him not being bought up by a bigger club later on.
    The time to move for Guzan is now. He’s got heat. If Chivas USA falters for some reason the blame will get tacked on to him whether it’s justified or not and drive down his asking price.

  59. burt says:

    @blist- you say it’s possible Celtic may have a closer tie to the home office than Villa. Did you check out who just became Celtic’s chairman? Also, Boruc is widely regarded as about the best ‘keeper in the game at the moment. Celtic is a huge club, but they play in a rinky-dink league. The TV money in the SPL for the winners is about 7% of the last placed EPL team. Boruc is going, and will break the GK transfer record easily.

  60. Alex says:

    burt- Is Boruc really regarded as the best keeper around? Ahead of Buffon, Cech, Casillas, Van Der Sar… Freidel! I know he’s good but is he really the best?

    I think Guzan is definitely capable of claiming the #1 shirt even as early as next season at either of these clubs. I’m liking Villa a lot better though. Celtic offer Champion’s League, but Villa offers games against top competition almost every week.

  61. Jon E says:

    Without knowing what the salaries might be, I have no way of knowing which is financially the better offer. And that’s really the only hard data one could have in this decision. The rest is all just guessing.

    I’m with those who agree that Guzan should probably go to whichever team will let him start, but I have no crystal ball to tell me where either Carson or Boruc will be in June. I think, going on form alone, it would make more sense to try to beat out Carson for the spot than Boruc.

    And the European play seems a wash. The CL is a bigger shop window, sure, but Villa seems likely to contend for a UEFA spot, which ain’t shabby. (And the BPL is a bigger weekly shop window than the Scottish league).

    And, honestly, I don’t really know that the level of either one’s team or one’s opponents is all that important for a goalkeeper’s development (at least not at the level of these two leagues). Guzan, after all, got as good as he did in large part playing for Chivas, which for much of career was the worst team in a mediocre league.

  62. Rick R says:

    Way to be the source of this story for You are taking over the world!

  63. Myles says:

    Eventhough I’m a Celtic supporter, I think Vila is the best move. Carson’s only on loan which mean if he leaves next season then chances are Guzan will start and given Villa’s current place, they would be playing in UEFA Cup which would be valuble expierence for Guzan. And the fact that he would be starting in the Preimirship week in week out is definitly a good thing.

  64. KingSnake says:

    Dannyc58: Ever hear of Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal?

  65. Alam says:

    CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! That’s what he should be thinking…

  66. evvy says:

    The fact is Celtic recently put Boruc on a lucrative contract so they can get a huge fee in the summer before he nears the end of his previous one – so Guzan would be signed to be number one at Parkhead. So his choice is – go to a club who will virtually guarantee him Champions League football every year – a huge club with massive worldwide support , legendary history ,a 60,000 regular home gate or go to a lesser club which at best will challenge to qualify for the second rate UEFA cup – its got to be CELTIC for Brad