BRAD GUZAN TO MIDDLESBROUGH
US goalkeeper Brad Guzan will be headed back to the English Premier League as it was announced on Friday that he signed with newly promoted side Middlesbrough.
The 31-year-old, who is leaving relegated side Aston Villa after eight years, has signed a two-year contract which will see him provide competition against fellow goalkeeper and three-time Champions League winner Victor Valdés.
Reports earlier in the month said Middlesbrough had interest in signing the 6-4 netminder at a cut-rate price after Villa were relegated to the second-tier Championship. With the team being sold to a new owner this summer and Guzan receiving a high wage despite being dropped down a division, it was only a matter time before he made the move away from Villa Park.
After finally returning to England's grown-ups table for the first time since their relegation following the 2008-09 season, Boro have taken huge steps to shore up their stopper position, by signing Champions League and World Cup winner Valdés to compete alongside the eight-year Premier League veteran Guzan.
The Illinois native first made the move to England in July 2008 as Aston Villa signed him from now-defunct MLS side Chivas USA. He went on to make 170 appearances for the team, which also included a loan stint at Hull City.
The current USA starter proved to be a mainstay between the sticks until last season when Villa were glued to the bottom of the EPL standings and ultimately relegated.
Middlesbrough still have two weeks of pre-season preparations until their season kicks off in the most inauspicious of ways, with a home game against the mighty Stoke City FC.