A move to Aston Villa has been finalised for Manchester City’s out of favour shot stopper Shay Given for a relatively bargain fee of £3.5million. After Brad Friedel’s departure to Tottenham Hotspur, Villa required someone as good as the American and who better to fit the bill at the current time than the Republic of Ireland international? Yes, he may be 35, but as we all should be aware of, age doesn’t stop most goalkeepers, the ones who are serious about staying in the firing line for as long as possible, as playing at the top level into one’s fourth decade has almost become a custom, so why didn’t Arsenal make an approach for him?
Current Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabianski has made some high profile errors in his time with the club, notably being at fault for two of Wigan Athletic’s goals near the end of the 2009/2010 campaign in a game his side led 2-0 until the 80th minute only to lose 3-2, which effectively put paid to any title aspirations that his side may have had. He wasn’t the only one of course: Manuel Alumunia has also been prone to a catalogue of clangers that has cost the Gunners vital points, which makes Arsene Wenger’s need for a goalkeeper ever more a priority.
I’m sure he would prefer a younger man than Given, but sometimes, you have to take what’s on offer. A person who is starving does not hold out for a steak and chips if there is plain old boring rice on offer; he eats the rice to survive and that is an analogy that could be fit for Arsenal, a club starved of success for six long years.
Whilst a player of Given’s calibre was available, they should have taken the opportunity to sign him if there was no one else they could have found. Although I would consider the former Newcastle United man good enough to be on top of the list amongst all the shot stopper’s that are out there as he has still got a few good years ahead of him providing he stays fit plus he has played the most English Premier league games out of all the goalkeepers who currently ply their trade in the Premiership, a career spanning fifteen years.
With Friedel gone to Tottenham, Alex McLeish sees the Irishman as the ideal replacement. There was no doubt that he wanted to leave City to get first team football and it was a golden opportunity for Wenger to acquire his services in one of many positions that Arsenal need to improve on if they want to bring their first trophy to the Emirates Stadium let alone the League championship and Champions League prizes.
Harry Redknapp seized the moment in bringing in Friedel on a free transfer as even though he is 40, he can still do a good job for Spurs and while there are seemingly not many other keepers available it is a decent temporary solution. Given could prove to be a more fruitful investment than the ex-Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers player, as he is five years younger and not many goalkeepers of his standard go on sale that often.