The story arcs that football provides us with are both fascinating and absurd. Who could’ve guessed that, come 2016, Brad Guzan would be doing battle with Victor Valdes to be named the starting goalkeeper for Middlesbrough?
Guzan, the 31-year-old Illinois native with 50 USA appearances to his name, is expected to join the newly promoted Premier League club on a free transfer following Aston Villa’s relegation.
Mysteriously enough, Middlesbrough, who finished second in the Football League Championship last year to earn promotion, had already captured the former Barcelona and Manchester United keeper Victor Valdes in the beginning of July.
The 34-year-old is a keeper of equal, if not greater, pedigree having played 20 times for Spain and almost 400 times for Barca.
Valdes had a torrid time with United after being effectively dropped from the squad by manager Louis van Gaal. He’s won the Champions League three times, La Liga six times and he’s a 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 winner, but he spent last season on loan at Standard Liege in Belgium.
Something’s got to give at Middlesbrough. At this point in his career, it’s difficult to see Valdes signing a two-year contract to be a backup. Guzan, having just recently overtaken Tim Howard as the USA’s starting keeper, will have no intention of working as an understudy to Valdes and losing his place in net for the USA.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka must be delighted to be so stacked in goal prior to the club’s first season in the EPL since 2008-09. You heard it here first: Middlesbrough's 2016 preseason will be one to keep an eye on.
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