Goodbye to Brad and all of my Vladimir Putin jokes.
For a couple of weeks we've known that Emile Heskey and Carlos Cuellar would be leaving Aston Villa after the season was over. We did not, however, was that they would be joined by goalkeeper and US Men's National Team member Brad Guzan. The release of all three has become official today according to the club.
Guzan has been with the club since 2008, but only netted 32 appearances. In those appearances, he was always competent and often excellent. Unfortunately for him he was stuck behind Brad Friedel and Shay Given, two of the best keepers in the Premier League. For Aston Villa the situation was ideal: they had a backup keeper who would likely start on most teams. For Guzan, though, it led to frustration:
"I want to be playing games and I think I've proven, not only to myself but to my team-mates and to coaches that I can play at the highest level and if given the opportunity I can play well."
That's entirely understandable, I think. While it is sad to see Guzan go, he was entirely to good to be stuck on the bench, and the end of the relationship shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. I would imagine that Guzan's departure will put an end to the Shay Given transfer rumors that were beginning to percolate.
Today also officially marks the end of the Aston Villa careers of Emile Heskey, Carlos Cuellar, and a bunch of far less significant players. We've known about the first two for quite a while now, but it's still sad to see them go. Based on personalities alone, I think we can all agree that they were two top-notch human beings.
The other players on the cut list are all from the academy. By and large I don't think there's anything to be upset about, though the departure of Ebby Nelson Addy may disappoint some. Here are the others cut by the team: Connor Taylor, Charlie Ward, Reece Caira, Richard Bryan, Matthew Coton, Darious Darkin and Seb Jenkins.