Writer: Dan Jones
Date:Tuesday May 20 2008
Since the season ended the major talking point from Villa fans has been the speculation surrounding Club Captain Gareth Barry's future. But with Scott Carson returning to Liverpool following a season-long loan and with Thomas Sorensen due to leave the club on Free Transfer, it remains obvious that Stuart Taylor should not be the only Keeper on the books at the start of the 2008/09 season.
Martin O`Neill has stated that he will be looking to bring in 2 new Keepers during the summer, The Aston Villa Goalkeeper Saga!.
If this is the case I believe that MON should be looking at a top Keeper with plenty of experience as well as a young Keeper with the potential to become the club`s next number 1. In recent weeks the club has been linked to many Goalkeepers including Chris Kirkland. Kirkland is a superb player and at 27, he has many years ahead of him. The issue with signing him would then be to convince a youngster to come in and be his understudy, knowing that Kirkland could be around for over ten years.
I would like to see a Keeper aged over 30 brought in with a youngster (under 25) signed as his understudy.
So which older players are available, well it looks as though Jens Lehmann (38) will be joining VfB Stuttgart prior to Euro 2008, which I know will be a relief to many Villa fans. Carlo Cudicini (34) of Chelsea was a name mentioned a few weeks back, I think he would be a good signing. If Cudicini came in as the first choice with a hot prospect and Stuart Taylor waiting for him slip up it would certainly get the best out of him. But the one that would perhaps be the most likely is Jussi Jääskeläinen (31) whose contract at Bolton has expired.
The young Keepers available at the moment appear to, like above be a choice of three. Scott Carson (22) spent last season on loan at Villa Park, although he started well, it was his performances following THAT England game, that caused many fans to question his ability and the price tag of £10million, however Rafa Benitez appears to have dropped the asking price to £6million, which for some is still a little high. Another name mentioned is Wolves highly rated Wayne Hennessey (21), who has unfortunately announced his intention to stay at his current club. What about Brad Guzan (23)? He is of course the man who Martin O`Neill failed to sign in January due to issues with obtaining a Work Permit.
The dream combination for me would consist of Jussi Jääskeläinen and Wayne Hennessey. I reckon a deal could be made with Wolves that would work like this - Wayne would be signed for an agreed fee, then loaned back to Wolves for the duration of the season with a clause in place for him to return to the club at 24 hours notice, if an injury should fall upon either Jussi or Taylor.
However the scenario that will probably unfold is that we will see Carson and Guzan brought in both with the idea of having them battling for the number one jersey.
Whatever does happen, it is likely to cause much excitement and debate in the forums.
Date:Tuesday May 20 2008
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