Friedel to get his way as Villa close in on deal

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The Independent Football

The shuffling of goalkeepers between Premier League clubs began in earnest yesterday with Blackburn close to caving in to Brad Friedel's demand that he be allowed to move to Aston Villa, who face competition from Manchester City, while Liverpool sold Scott Carson to West Bromwich Albion in a deal that could rise to £3.75m.

Villa are confident that they will secure Friedel's signature next week although there remains a stumbling block over the fee, with Blackburn demanding more than the £2.5m that has been tabled for the 37-year-old American.

Another issue that needs to be dealt with by Blackburn is finding a replacement for Friedel, with the club remaining reluctant to take Paul Robinson from Tottenham as part of a deal which would allow David Bentley to move to White Hart Lane.

Spurs bid for Bentley on Thursday with a straight cash proposal although their offer falls far below Blackburn's £17m valuation. It is even thought to be below the £10m Villa tabled several weeks ago and, similarly, has been rejected out of hand.

"We've had two bids for Brad, despite my insistence to the clubs concerned we didn't want them," Blackburn's chief executive John Williams said. "They've been rejected. When Brad told us he wanted to leave, it was a bolt out of the blue – he had only signed his latest contract back in February, and a replacement keeper has not even been on our radar."

Villa are currently in Denmark for their Intertoto Cup tie with Odense today and also hope to sign another American goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, for £650,000 should he gain a work permit. The 24-year-old failed to qualify for one when Villa attempted to sign him in January but it is now believed he has the right credentials, although he has been called up to represent the US at the Olympics.

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