Aston Villa have been linked to a host of goalkeepers, despite the news that Villa are to open talks over a new contract for veteran Brad Friedel. Over the weekend, Houllier’s side virtually secured survival from the drop after a 1-2 away win over West Ham saw them reach the 40 point mark and the Villa boss is keen to bolster his ranks ahead of another season in the Premier League. With reserve keeper Brad Guzan seemingly failing to have convinced the Frenchman that he is the man to replace his 39-year-old compatriot, Houllier is keen to bring in more competition for the number 1 slot. Nottingham Forest stopper Lee Camp was the first to be linked in the last couple of days having impressed again in the Championship. His side have gone on a desperate run which is likely to see them miss out on the play-offs so the lure of the top league maybe too strong for Northern Ireland international. The People claim that Villa are also monitoring Premier League duo Tim Howard, Everton’s £4m rated stopper and yet another American between the sticks, and Tomasz Kuszczak, bench warmer at Man United who is likely to be sold if the leaders sign Spanish youngster David De Gea.
Despite the play-off hopefuls dismal run of form of late, 26-year-old Lee Camp has kept an impressive 13 clean sheets having played all of Forest’s 42 league games this term, his side have conceded 45 goals in that time. Despite playing 5 times for England at Under-21 level, Camp opted to play for Northern Ireland in the hope for more regular senior international action and he has turned out twice for them in the past season, stepping in to replace the ageing Maik Taylor.
Tim Howard has been Everton’s number 1 ever since switching from a reserve role at Manchester United in 2007 having spent a successful half season on loan with the Toffees. The American international replaced Brad Friedel as his nation’s first choice keeper after his retirement from the US set-up and keeps Villa’s second choice Brad Guzan on the sidelines under Michael Bradley’s father Bob. Howard is reportedly frustrated at Everton’s poor financial situation which is set to see them have a quiet summer in the transfer window. The 32-year-old also played in all his club’s games this season, 33, conceding 41 goals and keeping a decent 8 clean sheers in the process.
Kuszczak was brought in by Alex Ferguson in 2006 on a season long loan to replace Tim Howard funnily enough. He signed from West Brom permanently to cover for the loss of the American but has failed to dethrone the 40-year-old Van der Sar since arriving. He is also a reserve choice for his native Poland behind former Celtic and now Fiorentina stopper Artur Boruc making 10 appearances for his country. The 29-year-old has played 9 times in all competitions this term, 4 of which came in the league, conceding 10 goals and keeping 4 clean sheets
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