BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Brad Friedel of Aston Villa waves to supporters prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park on May 22, 2011 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
It has just been announced on Fox Soccer Report that Brad Friedel has signed with Tottenham Hotspur. Friedel leaves Aston Villa after three seasons, with 2010-11 arguably his best in claret and blue. That Friedel has left Villa comes as little surprise given the club's desire to shed salary while also keeping an eye towards the future, though his destination has been somewhat up in the air over the past several days.
Whoever Friedel's replacement ends up being will have some awfully big shoes to fill. Friedel might not be the flashiest keeper around but a combination of rock-solid fundamentals, excellent positioning and reactions that betray his age have made him one of the most dependable keepers in England these past few years. This is likely Friedel's last big professional contract and it's unlikely that Villa were willing to compete with Spurs so it's tough to blame him for his decision to leave and admirable that he chose the potential to be a Number One with Tottenham rather than second fiddle at Liverpool despite the Reds offering (presumably) more money. Villa have been eying replacements for the better part of a year now and should everything go all sideways there are worse fallbacks than Brad Guzan, but Friedel will be a tough act to follow.
All the best, Big Brad. You're a class act and a peerless competitor. You're going to be missed.