Despite only making three appearances as a substitute for Aston Villa while on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach last season, the Birmingham-based club has decided to open up talks with the German side over United States international midfielder Michael Bradley.
The club has reached out to Gladbach over the weekend, according to German publication Bild, to discuss bringing Bradley back on a permanent deal. Goal.com has been informed that even though the club wants at least 10 million euros for Bradley, Aston Villa’s loan arrangement for Bradley is closer to seven million euros.
It is thought that the Premier League club that is owned by American Randy Lerner is looking to negotiate the deal lower to a number between 4 and 6 million euros.
Even if Gladbach agrees to Aston Villa’s proposal, there is still a possibility that Bradley might not play for the club. Bradley’s agent Alberto Faccini revealed to Sky Sports that the 23-year-old was frustrated by his lack of opportunities at the club.
"The move to Aston Villa has not been the right choice because he is often on the bench, but he's a young boy with many appearances in the national team,” said Faccini.
If he joins Aston Villa permanently without any assurances of first-team action, it could put his starting role on the U.S. national team in jeopardy, even if his father Bob is managing the roster. Bradley, who has eight goals in 52 appearances for the Stars and Stripes, plays a pivotal role in the national team system as he provides stability as one of its facilitators. It is because of that reason that Bradley has started in almost every U.S. cap that he has received.
Still, with no other major suitor so far, Bradley might be motivated by the chance to fight for playing time in the Premier League, arguably the world’s greatest soccer league. Earlier this month, Brad Guzan revealed to Goal.com that Bradley didn’t appear discouraged during his time at Aston Villa.
“Mike is a great professional. He is one of the first in training and the last to leave. He is always doing extra work to stay fit and to push himself to make sure that when he gets the chance he is ready to go,” Guzan said. “He knows when he gets his chance he has to be ready for it,”
Also, there might be more opportunities for Bradley to compete for starting spot considering that if he joined the club, he would be able to participate in preseason. With Stiliyan Petrov on the wrong side of 30, Stephen Ireland and Ashley Young likely leaving the club during the summer transfer window, Aston Villa will be thin in its midfield.
There is also speculation that Bradley might have seen his role limited by Aston Villa in an attempt to reduce his transfer value during his loan at the club. Even though he didn't play much for the club, the team's coaching staff and scouts had a chance to see his ability first hand and determine whether he would fit in well. Considering that the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament is around the corner, Aston Villa might look to wrap up discussions quickly as the club doesn't want the midfielder to re-establish his value during the event.
All of these factors could put to Bradley having a chance to be a significant part of Aston Villa's rotation next season.
Maybe Aston Villa will be the right choice the second time around.
Alex Labidou is the Deputy Editor of Goal.com USA. Agree or disagree with the story above? Give him a shout @sportslab on twitter.
Goal.com Germany contributed to this report
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