Aston Villa are close to completing a £3.5 million deal for Shay Given, with the Manchester City goalkeeper set to replace Brad Friedel who left for Tottenham earlier in the summer.
Negotiations between the club and Given’s representatives have been ongoing for over a week but it is reported a deal has finally been agreed.
Given has been desperate to move away from Eastlands after finding himself on the fringes of Roberto Mancini’s squad. Thanks to the fine form of Joe Hart, the 35-year-old did not start a single Barclays Premier League game last season.
And, with the England No.1 fast developing into a world-class shot-stopper, it would appear Given's time in Manchester is up.
Villa defender Richard Dunne told the Birmingham Mail that he was delighted at the prospect of linking up with his Republic of Ireland teammate.
He said: "I think it's a good opportunity for Shay to get back to playing football. He was frustrated over the way things have gone over the last year, I think he just wants to get playing again and he'll be looking forward to it.”
"I spoke to him on Friday when he got here and I think he was surprised about how good the facilities and the setup are here at Bodymoor.”
Dunne added: “Shay is probably the best shot-stopper there is and over the years has consistently been one of the best keepers in the league. I know he will help us. He's always talking, encouraging people, telling them where to be watching, what to be doing, and he keeps defenders on their toes. I think he'll be good.
"We've been international teammates for ten years and I can't remember him having a bad game. I can't think of anybody better to be replacing Brad Friedel, who has been excellent for this club.
"Shay has not played many club games recently but he's played every international. When he's turned up he's been brilliant. He played three or four at the end of the season and didn't concede a goal. He always keeps himself fit and charged, so I don't think that'll be a worry."
The Manchester City keeper underwent a medical at Villa Park yesterday and the deal is expected to be formally confirmed within 24 hours.
Alex McLeish will now turn his attention to Wigan playmaker Charles N’Zogbia after Villa reportedly cited the Frenchman as an ideal replacement for Stewart Downing.
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