Who will Craig Gordon sign for?

Goalkeeper Craig Gordon has been released by Sunderland after losing his place as their number one this season.

Craig Gordon has played 40 times for Scotland

The Scotland international was signed for £9 million in 2007 which at the time was the highest fee a British club had paid for a goalkeeper and to begin with it looked as though he was worth every penny. But soon things started going wrong as he was dropped to the bench after conceding seven goals against Everton. His first season at the club he played the most games in his Sunderland career and eventually Simon Mignolet took his place permanently and towards the end of last season it was obvious that he wasn’t going to get a new contract. However, one of the finest moments of his career must have been his save against Bolton Wanderers in 2010 which was voted the best save at the Premier League 20 seasons awards.

He does still have his admirers and I’m sure a lot of clubs will be hoping to convince him to sign for them. Surprisingly though, Tottenham Hotspur are linked with him and I was really shocked by this as they have a very good number one in Brad Friedel who is very consistent and plays in every league game, even though he is getting towards the end of his career, it doesn’t look like he is planning to retire anytime soon with some very impressive saves last season. However, if Gordon is willing to wait for at least a season he could become Spurs’ number one in a few years time and in the meantime he will still be playing Europa League and cup football which is something that he didn’t even get at Sunderland. So if the interest is genuine then I could see this transfer happening.

A more realistic transfer could be to Celtic as he has already proven that he is one of the best ever in the Scottish Premier League when he played for Hearts as he was inducted into their hall of fame at the age of only 24, which makes him the youngest player to receive this honour. Celtic may need a goalkeeper too as Fraser Forster was only on loan from Newcastle United last season and even though his contract has expired there, compensation will still need to paid which could be up to £2 million. With Gordon being a free, I think he would be a much better option anyway as I have never been convinced by Forster.

Finally, another team I have seen linked with goalkeeper is Wigan Athletic and this does not seem likely to me either unless they are losing Ali Al Habsi in the summer because Al-Habsi proved time and time again last season that he is too good for Wigan and should be playing for a team that is challenging for Europe. So if Al Habsi leaves then yes I think Gordon would be an adequate replacement but I cannot see him becoming their number one if the Oman international stays at the DW.

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Did Celtic deserve to win the league?

Celtic have been crowned SPL champions again after a four year wait and they did it in spectacular fashion beating Kilmarnock 6-0.

Goals from Charlie Mulgrew, Glenn Loovens, Gary Hooper and Joe Ledley meant the title was coming back to Celtic. The result will also be sweet for the fans and players because they got beaten in the Scottish League Cup final by Kilmarnock when they were hoping to add more silverware to their fantastic season. Some people may argue that this league title should mean less to Celtic and because of Rangers’ current financial problems they shouldn’t celebrate it as much but I don’t agree with this and I believe that Celtic would have went on to win the league anyway. After being 15 points behind their rivals at one stage they pulled it back and to make it even better they actually beat Rangers to completely overturn the points deficit with a goal from Joe Ledley.

Looking at the team, they had the best in Scotland anyway and deserve the title, the only player that was possibly going to stop them would have been Nikica Jelavic who is proving in the English Premier League that he is a good goal scorer and may have made more of a difference. But we will never know because they were forced to sell him and they only have themselves to blame for that so why should Celtic be bothered. In goal Celtic have Fraser Forster who has a lot of potential and could one day be one of the best in Europe if he learns to keep his concentration up fully especially when defending set pieces but he is certainly a very good shot stopper and with more experience will get even better.

The defence is possibly the weakest part of the team but they do have a lot of potential in there with Adam Matthews at right back who is very solid defensively and adds a lot going forward with his pace. Two defenders actually scored three of the goals that secured the title and in Charlie Mulgrew they have a player that can play in a few positions and his versatility can be vital at times. He does also get a few goals and assists as well. Unfortunately one of the best players in the league couldn’t take as much part as he would have liked in the title win and that is Emilio Izaguirre who is a fantastic player and one that I want to see a lot more of.

The midfield is very hard working and committed and in Scott Brown they have a player who will do anything to win a game of football and will do anything for the cause therefore it is easy to see why the Celtic fans love him. Joe Ledley is very similar in that respect and he can at times just add a little extra quality too.

They also have some good attacking options and some very good finishers at the club in Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes. They may miss a few chances but the bonus of being at a massive club like Celtic is that they will get the opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net. Georgios Samaras also chips in with goals and his six this season have been vital and he may infuriate some fans but he is always a danger and can always score an important goal for the team.

Lennon will be hoping for even more success in charge of Celtic

So well done to Celtic and I hope Neil Lennon enjoys this moment as much as he should because this could be the first of many and Celtic will probably go and dominate Scotland for a long time to come. They were the best team for most of the season and for that reason I believe that they did deserve to be SPL champions of 2012.

Coloccini and Krul sign new contracts at Newcastle United

Newcastle United fans will be delighted with the news that Fabricio Coloccini and Tim Krul have both signed new contracts at the club.

It is yet another step in the right direction, with the team battling for a European place this season and an outside chance of qualifying for the Champions League. The team will be delighted at their progress this season after losing several key players of their squad in the summer and pundits expecting them to battle against relegation. Kevin Nolan was captain last season and when he left for West Ham, the team needed a new leader and Coloccini was the man to take up the armband and his performances this season have justified Alan Pardew’s decision. He has been a rock at the back, and has arguably been one of the best centre backs in the division, which is a far cry from his first season at the club when he was ridiculed by opposition supporters not only for his hair but his horrific decision making and his inevitable mistakes at key moments in games.

The season in the Championship has made him improve as a defender as it helped him adapt to the physical side of the English game and now you will hardly ever see him getting bullied by strikers. But you can still tell he is from Argentina because he is not afraid to pass the ball out of the defence and try to set up an attack. He has already stated he wants to lift a trophy with the Magpies and it will not be this season but if he can help his team get into the Europa League then it will have been a fantastic season.

Krul and Coloccini celebrate

Not forgetting Tim Krul as he has been sensational between the sticks for the Toon this season and this has been an even more impressive achievement as in pre season it was unclear whether he will be the number 1 with both Steve Harper and Fraser Forster battling for the position. In all honesty I thought Harper would be first choice because of his experience but Pardew took a gamble and it is paying off. He has performed heroics in many games this season and gained valuable points this season for Newcastle and whenever he has been called upon he has never let anyone down. It is worth remembering that he is still young and can make the odd mistake when dealing with crosses as he is unsure whether to come for them or not but the more he plays the better he will get. Krul must now be considered as one of the best in the league and if he keeps progressing the way he is, then surely he will be one of the best in the world.

At the moment it is looking bright for Newcastle but with Mike Ashley in charge there will always be that fear that something will go wrong and there will be some fans saying he has only given them new contracts so he can demand a higher transfer fee from potential buyers. Newcastle are a huge club and deserve to be in Europe and if they keep the core of the squad together this summer then being a United fan will be very exciting next season. But that is definitely a big if.