Aston Villa have flown out of the blocks in the transfer market this summer, with Paul Lambert keen to reshape his squad to ensure they are not involved in another relegation scrap next season.
Villa have continued to target promising young players, with Jores Okore and Aleksander Tonev particularly exciting new signings, but it might be a bit of business involving a 28-year-old that proves to be their best work of the summer.
Brad Guzan has put pen to paper on a new four-year-deal at Villa Park, with the club no doubt delighted to tie up the future of their player of the year.
Guzan only kept five clean sheets in 36 Premier League appearances, but that was largely due to the youthful inconsistency of the defence in front of him rather than any failings on the American’s part.
The goalkeeper was a steadying influence in a tricky season for Villa’s young players, and his importance in their eventual survival cannot be overstated, even if Christian Benteke stole all the headlines in the closing months.
Guzan has been at Villa since 2006, but made only six league appearances before the start of last season, playing as back-up to Shay Given and his compatriot Brad Friedel. However since Paul Lambert’s arrival Guzan has become a central figure for the club, and the American has handsomely repaid the faith Aston Villa’s manager showed in him by making him first choice.
Lambert will hope that the young players he used throughout last season will improve after getting a year’s experience under their belts, and the new signings will all also have a part to play as the Scottish manager build his team. Having Guzan at the back will be vital in helping Villa’s young players settle into the new season.
Securing Benteke’s future might yet end up Aston Villa’s best piece of business this transfer window, but the importance of the early move to extend Guzan’s stay at the club should not be underestimated.
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