Aston Villa are reportedly set to lose veteran keeper Brad Friedel to his former club Liverpool, leading the club to search for their new number 1 next season, with Ali Al-Habsi and Kieren Westwood both believed to be attracting Houllier’s interest.Oman international Al-Habsi has been linked on numerous occasions this season having impressed during his loan spell at Wigan Athletic. The 29-year-old is thought to be a real contender to replace Jussi Jaaskelainen at his owner club, Bolton, but is expected to leave if he is not assured first team football, with Villa expected to be one of the frontrunners for his signature. Brad Friedel is believed to have been offered a 1-year renewal at Villa but favours a 2-year option, which Liverpool are reportedly willing to offer the American.
In 39 games in all competitions for a struggling Wigan side, he still managed to keep a decent 9 clean sheets, conceding 54 goals in the process, an average of just under 1.39 a game. In comparison, Friedel played 43 times for Villa keeping less clean sheets, 7, and conceding far more goals, 67, an average of just under 1.56 goals a game.
Republic of Ireland international stopper Kieren Westwood, who has played 5 times for his country alongside the likes of Richard Dunne and Ciaran Clark, is another suggested target of the club. The Coventry keeper, 26, is out of contract with the Championship side and attracting interest from the Premier League with The Daily Mail reporting that Sunderland are set to beat off competition for Irishman ahead of Villa and Everton. In 41 league games for Coventry this term, Westwood kept an impressive 11 clean sheets, conceding 49 goals at an average of 1.195 a game, a decent record for a club who finished 18th in the league.
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