Aston Villa news

USA midfielder Bradley loaned to Villa

January 29, 2011
By Luke Cyphers and ESPNsoccernet staff

United States midfielder Michael Bradley is heading to the Premier League for a loan spell with Aston Villa.

Michael Bradley, DaMarcus Beasley
GettyImagesMichael Bradley starred for his country at the World Cup in South Africa

• Live transfer blog: January 29

The 23-year-old will join from struggling German side Borussia Monchengladbach, according to well-placed sources close to Bradley.

The move ends weeks of speculation that Bradley, who has a year-and-a-half left on his Gladbach contract, might join Sunderland. But Sunderland's sale of forward Darren Bent to Aston Villa has put them in need of a striker, and apparently cooled their interest in Bradley.

The loan to Aston Villa will end in the summer, leaving Bradley with a year on his current Gladbach contract at the start of the summer transfer market.

The loan also gives Bradley, who impressed while with United States at the 2010 World Cup, a new lease of life. Gladbach are mired in the Bundesliga relegation zone, and though Bradley has played solidly all season, with three goals and three assists in 19 games, he was benched recently as coach Michael Frontzeck looked in vain for a line-up that could produce results.

At Villa, the American midfielder joins a team that has shown renewed vigour since acquiring Bent.

Since being drafted as a 16-year-old in 2004 by the MetroStars of MLS and coached by his father, current national team coach Bob Bradley, the younger Bradley spent two years in New Jersey before being sent to Heerenveen in the Eredivisie. Bradley scored 21 goals for the Dutch club in 2007-08 - a record for an American at a top-division European club.

That led to a transfer to to Monchengladbach in the summer of 2008, where he has held down a starting position for the better part of his stay. At Aston Villa, Bradley joins fellow Americans Brad Friedel and Eric Lichaj.