ATLANTA - JULY 28: Goalkeeper Shay Given #1 of Manchester City saves a penalty kick by Daniel Montenegro (not pictured) #10 of Club America during the 2010 Aaron's International Soccer Challenge match at Georgia Dome on July 28 2010 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Aston Villa are delighted to confirm that Shay Given will be unveiled tomorrow as the club's new goalkeeper, having agreed a five-year deal to June 2016.
The 35-year-old Republic of Ireland international completed a medical over the weekend and the formality of his signing this morning.
He will be available for Thursday's friendly fixture against Walsall at the Banks's Stadium and for the club's participation in the Barclays Asia Trophy next week.
A good move all round this.
After playing the model citizen last year (when there were undoubtedly offers on the table for him) after Joe Hart regained the number one spot from him it was clear that this summer would see Given move on.
City get a decent fee in return for Given and get themselves some more space salary wise. For Villa, they land a solid goalkeeper to replace Brad Friedel - someone who consistency wise is likely still in the top third in the Premier League and for Given, he gets himself a move to a good club (the chances of landing with a top six club have passed you feel) and not to mention is now sitting pretty on a five-year deal that takes him up to the age of forty.
Goalkeepers of course have a greater longevity than outfield players but the length of the deal should raise eyebrows. Given does have a history of injury-hit seasons and towards the end of the 2009/10 went down with a shoulder injury that although he is a year removed from has yet to be tested with the rigours and demands of a full season.
Yet it was only on the eve of last season that Roberto Mancini took the decision to go with Joe Hart as his starter, a move that was by no means a formality one that was not universally popular with the fan vote split pretty much 50-50 at the time. The 2010/11 performance by Hart has certainly vindicated the decision yet it would not have been a surprise if Given had been the one chosen.
The decision to bring Given in during the January window in 2009 by Mark Hughes, with hindsight, was the correct one. Hart, as young goalkeepers are prone to, was struggling and Given, along with the arrivals of Craig Bellamy and Nigel de Jong at the same time really allowed Hughes to begin to put his stamp and personality on the squad and his performances that first six months in particular were excellent and fully justified the jettisoning of Hart at the time.
Unfortunately for Given, Hart's response was such that he came back ahead of that which was anticipated to grab his position back.
More analysis here from SBNation's Villa blog 7500 to Holte.