LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 15: Brad Friedel of Aston Villa looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on May 15, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
After much talk and speculation, Brad Friedel has completed his move on a free transfer to White Hart Lane, where Tottenham Hotspur supporters can finally breathe again. After the up and down play of Heurelho Gomes, filled with gaffes and embarrassment, Tottenham will be thrilled to have a goalkeeper who is, if nothing else, dependable.
Friedel has spent the last three seasons at Aston Villa after stint with Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool. The 40-year-old's ongoing streak of 275 consecutive starts is a English Premier League record and he is considered by some to be the best United States goalkeeper ever.
For all of Gomes' abilities as a blinding shot stopper, he was plagued by downright blasphemous mistakes. Whether it be flailing away at crosses, inexplicably taking down attackers for penalties or watching shots go through his hands and into the goal, Gomes became a liability in goal for Spurs. All those with the cockerel on their chests, whether it be players, coaches or supporters, reached a point where they could not depend on Gomes to not lose a match.
That will not be the case with Friedel. In Friedel, Spurs getting a keeper who they can depend on to organize the defense, be in position and make the simple saves. That is a gigantic upgrade for the club and really all the club could hope for in a summer where several big clubs are looking for keepers to drive the price of all those at the positon sky high.
Friedel is not a long-term solution. He can't be at 40 years old. He is a short-term solution that will give the Spurs a chance to compete for the top four and a Champions League place next season. That is more than enough for the club in a summer where their big bucks need to be spent elsewhere, specifically at striker. Beginning the search for a younger goalkeeper to groom for the future sure wouldn't hurt though.
With this signing, Gomes' days at the Lane are gone. Rumors of a move to Italy or even back to the Netherlands with PSV, where Spurs bought him from, are out there. Wherever Gomes goes, it is unlikely that Spurs get a big transfer fee for him after the horrendous season he is coming off of. If it is enough to fund the purchase of a decent squad player or bright youngster, Spurs should take it and run.
In the mean time, breathe. For the first time in a while, Tottenham can depend on their keeper. What a novel thought.