Brad Friedel on the way out?

Wednesday July 23rd, 2008

American goalie Brad Friedel, who has played every Premier League game in the last four seasons at Blackburn Rovers, has asked to leave -- the latest shock wave for the Lancashire club.

Paul Ince was recently named as a replacement for Mark Hughes, who was hired as Manchester City's new manager, and faces the prospect of losing Blackburn's youngest star -- David Bentley -- and now Friedel, who has played 261 of 266 EPL games since Blackburn went up in 2001-02.

Both Manchester City and Aston Villa (owned by American Randy Lerner) are reportedly interested in signing the 37-year-old Friedel, but Ince won't part with Friedel.

"I want to keep Brad," Ince told BBC Radio Lancashire. "He's one of the best goalkeepers in the Premiership -- I want to keep my best players."

Villa is also pursuing 23-year-old goalie Brad Guzan, whose is pending the receipt of a British work permit, and has been linked in recent days with 24-year-old Spanish keeper Asier Riesgo.

Friedel had a month ago expressed support for Ince, the first black British EPL manager.

"I played with him at Liverpool. Incey as a footballer was a winner and he has obviously proven as a manager he is a winner as well," he said. "He knows football and loves football, which I think is why he has had the success he has had."

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