Brad Guzan: A Crucial Signing for Boro’s Survival Bid
To say that Boro’s signing of American goalkeeper Brad Guzan raised a few eyebrows would be a massive understatement and there was just one question on fans’ minds: why have Boro signed another keeper?
Victor Valdes has already joined the club this summer and many fans believe that Dimi is more than deserving a chance to impress in the top flight. However, the signing of Guzan could actually be a masterstroke by Aitor Karanka.
Judging the player on last season alone would be silly as there are very few players that impressed in that dreadful Aston Villa team. A few years ago, Guzan was the club’s Player of the Year and he was considered a solid, if unspectacular, goalkeeper with real money casino bonuses.
It’s not just his performances that he’s been brought in for though. If all goes to plan, Victor Valdes will be the first choice this season but Guzan will more than likely have a big part to play off the pitch.
Karanka has always wanted leaders off the pitch as well as on it. He’s often praised experienced pros like Jonathan Woodgate and Dean Whitehead for their influence in the dressing room. Given Guzan’s experience in the Premier League and at international level, he will be crucial to help those who aren’t as experienced develop.
As a newly-promoted team, Boro’s priority this season will be to stay up this season and this is something that Guzan has achieved on a number of occasions. He understands the pressure from supporters and the media that comes with being in a relegation battle. That knowhow will be crucial this season and will help Boro’s inexperienced players over the line.
While Guzan won’t be satisfied with an off-field role and being number 2, he will have a big impact on the Boro team and the defence in particular.
Of all the defenders currently on Boro’s books, there have been just 34 Premier League appearances – and 21 of those are when Alex Baptiste featured in Blackpool’s solo Premier League season. That means of the regular back four last season – Nsue, Ayala, Gibson and Friend – there are just 13 appearances in the top flight.
That lack of experience could hurt Boro in some games so having the knowhow of Guzan on the pitch and in the dressing room will be crucial.
So while the news of another goalkeeper being added to the ranks looks strange initially, a more in-depth look shows that he is more than likely not just being signed because of his ability. The experience in Premier League is something that none of Boro’s goalies can match, not even the highly-decorated Victor Valdes.