Chivas USA keeper Guzan officially headed to England's Aston Villa

Publish date:

A source close to the negotiations told that a move that would send the Chivas USA goalkeeper to English side Aston Villa had been finalized on Friday morning. The move is pending approval of a work permit.

Guzan, 23, nearly joined Villa in January, but a multimillion-dollar transfer went awry when his work permit was hours before the winter transfer window closed. Since then, however, Guzan has appeared in four of the U.S. national team's seven games, which might be enough for him to secure the transfer.

The reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, Guzan got off to a shaky start this season as Chivas USA dropped four of its first seven games. But in his last eight games, Guzan has posted a 5-1-2 record.

Guzan was Chivas USA's first-ever draft choice and was thrown into the fire as an untested rookie during the club's expansion season in 2005. After a brutal opening month, Guzan earned a shutout and continued to improve during the course of the season and earned a call-up to the national team prior to the start of his second MLS season.

In '07, Guzan enjoyed his best season to date. In 27 starts, he posted 13 shutouts and led Chivas USA to the Western Conference title. This season, he fittingly left his mark on the club by making a late save off a Carlos Ruiz shot that preserved a 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy on Thursday, a result that kept both clubs atop the conference table.

Under former club coach Bob Bradley, Guzan has gained plenty of experience with the U.S. national team and has also proved his worth at the international level. He appeared in the Copa América in '07 and has played in both of the U.S.' World Cup qualifiers this year. He has also seen action in U.S. games at Switzerland, South Africa, England and Spain.

With Villa, Guzan will have a chance to be yet another successful American goalkeeper in the English Premiership. Among the Americans who have had success in England are Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller and Tim Howard. Guzan joins a Villa side that finished sixth in the Premiership table. Aside from securing a work permit, Guzan will likely have to beat out Stuart Taylor for the starting keeper spot. Thomas Sorensen's contract expired after the season and has been linked to Galatasaray.

Originally, Villa's swoop for Guzan broke apart at the final hour. Guzan went to England in late January after a deal had been reached between MLS and the Premier League club. However, Guzan's work permit was struck down and he returned to Chivas USA for the start of preseason.

His contract was set to expire at the end of '08, though, and it appeared that a move abroad was only a matter of time. Had Guzan not left now, he would have been able to leave on a free transfer this winter.