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American midfielder Michael Bradley has been handed the opportunity to earn himself a full-time switch to the English Premier League after joining Aston Villa on loan.
Bradley, one of the stars of the U.S. World Cup team coached by his father, Bob, is being leased out by his German side Borussia Moenchengladbach until the end of the season and could even play for Villa in its EPL clash at league leaders Manchester United on Tuesday.
However, sources confirmed to Yahoo! Sports that the loan deal includes a clause that gives Villa an option to buy Bradley, 23, outright in the summer – for a figure thought to be around $9 million.
The loan gives Bradley the chance to prove himself in arguably Europe's toughest league, having experienced difficult times in Germany. Despite his own strong performances, Moenchengladbach sits at the foot of the Bundesliga table and looks doomed to relegation
Villa's American owner Randy Lerner is believed to have taken a personal hand in rubber-stamping the deal, which will bring the club's U.S. contingent to three – Americans Brad Friedel and Eric Lichaj are already first-team squad members.
Bob Bradley was linked with the Villa manager job following the shock resignation of Martin O'Neill in August and was the betting favorite for several weeks before signing a new deal with the USA prior to the appointment of Gerard Houllier at Villa Park.
Houllier has already splashed out during the January transfer window, bringing in striker Darren Bent from Sunderland and midfielder Jean Makoun from Lyon. Picking up Bradley is the latest move aimed at pulling the team clear of relegation danger following a dismal first half of the season. It may also signal the end of Villa's interest in Blackpool's Charlie Adam, who has also attracted the attention of Liverpool.
Villa beat Blackburn 3-1 in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday to continue its mini-revival, and it is hoped that the addition of Bradley can add extra strength to the midfield unit. Yet, with Makoun established as a Houllier favorite, the young American will need to impress in order to gain substantial playing time.