Hull City boss Steve Bruce targets ex-Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan
HULL City boss Steve Bruce has lined up former Tigers loan star Brad Guzan to solve his goalkeeping problems at the KC Stadium this summer.
Bruce has made recruiting a new keeper the top priority ahead of pre-season training next month and is understood to have installed Guzan high on his wish-list.
The 27-year-old is a free agent following his release from Aston Villa last month and served City with distinction during a three-month loan spell with the club in the 2010-11 season.
A permanent return to East Yorkshire could now be on the cards for the keeper after Bruce missed out on another possible target, Tomasz Kuszczak.
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The former Manchester United goalkeeper opted to join Championship rivals Brighton yesterday, despite the Tigers declaring a keen interest in the free agent over the last seven days.
City are now likely to switch all their attention to Guzan as he eyes up a club that can offer regular first-team football after four largely frustrating years as an understudy at Villa Park.
Ipswich Town, who were also in the running for Kuszczak, appear to be the most likely stumbling block for the transfer, but Guzan may favour the Tigers after enjoying a previous stint at the KC during Nigel Pearson's reign.
Sixteen appearances for City between January and April 2011 continues to represent Guzan's longest sequence as a first-choice goalkeeper before the terms of his emergency loan eventually curtailed his short time with the Tigers.
Another factor in the deal is the fact Bruce is also familiar with Guzan. The City boss was in charge of Sunderland when the Illinois-born keeper saved four penalties in one League Cup tie as Aston Villa won at the Stadium of Light in October 2009.
For now, the goalkeeper is currently mulling over his options after an extended season on international duty with the USA side.
He was part of the US squad that faced Scotland, Brazil and Canada in the end-of-season friendlies before being an unused substitute in the World Cup qualifiers against Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala last week, serving as back-up to Everton keeper Tim Howard.
City's need for a new goalkeeper is clear after the exit of all three figures who featured between the sticks during 2011-12.
Vito Mannone had been Nick Barmby's first-choice transfer target before his sacking, and while the Italian is still open to a City move, Arsenal's £1m asking price has always looked capable of jeopardising interest.
Veteran Adriano Basso will formally leave the KC upon the expiry of his one-year deal next week, while Peter Gulacsi returned to his parent club Liverpool in March.
That leaves City without a recognised number one on the books and triggered speculation of moves for both Craig Gordon and former Hull City stopper Boaz Myhill.
Ex-Sunderland keeper Gordon is not thought to be in Bruce's plans as he hopes to land a top-flight club for his services, while no contact has been made for Myhill.
A veteran of three promotions with the Tigers during his time at the KC Stadium, Myhill will assess his future when returning to pre-season training at West Brom under new boss Steve Clarke.