It is fairly unusual for a football manager to walk into a job inheriting a championship winning squad but that is exactly the situation Ronny Deila finds himself in having replaced Neil Lennon as our manager. So, how strong really is the squad? (Before we start, I blame Wikipedia for any inaccuracies you are about to read except for my own opinions!)
I find it difficult to remember a time when we had three international class goalkeepers on the books so the recent signing of Craig “Brilliantsigningifhe’sfit” Gordon has really strengthened this area, the more cynical among us would see this as writing on the wall that one of the other keepers is on his way out. I don’t think that three experienced keepers are necessary and that wages could be spent better elsewhere in the squad, with academy goalkeepers filling in third choice space.
1, Fraser Forster
193 appearances, 26 years old, 6ft 7, England, 2 caps
Signed from Newcastle United, June 2012, £2million (Aug 2010- June 2012 On Loan)
La Gran Muralla is approaching the start of his fifth season with the club and is unquestionably the first choice goalkeeper at the moment. In his time at Celtic he has racked up 100 clean sheets in less than 200 appearances, established his reputation in the Champions League particularly against Barcelona and broken into the England squad, travelling to the 2014 world cup. He is also the tallest player ever to have played for Celtic and holds the club record for consecutive clean sheets plus Scottish league record for minutes without conceding a goal.
I was largely unconvinced until that penalty stop late on at home to Hearts in December 2011 which seemed to be the catalyst for him to really establish himself as a great Celtic goalkeeper.
There are rumours of a club from England or Spain coming in with big money for him and whilst I would like to see him stay it would be easy to understand that he may see himself having gotten as far as he can with Celtic – especially as he missed out on playing any world cup games whilst Ben Foster got a run out.
If he does go, we should command £8-10 million + add ons.
24, Lukasz Zaluska
44 appearances, 32 years old, 6ft 3, Poland, 1 cap
Signed from Dundee United, June 2009, Free
Zaluska was second choice keeper last season but that position may now be in doubt with the arrival of Craig Gordon. A fans favourite who has rarely let the side down when called upon over the past few seasons, Zaluska has been a dependable understudy for Forster.
If Forster leaves, would Zaluska be first choice? I feel it is unlikely… surprisingly, he has only made 111 first team appearances in his career, almost half that Forster has managed for Celtic alone, meaning he has never really established himself as a top class first choice keeper. Under Lennon I felt his reputation never fully recovered from the disasters against Braga and Utrecht (not just his fault!) so a clean slate may be just what he needs to kick on and have his time in the limelight – perhaps entering his prime and benefiting from working with Forster and Woods?
26, Craig Gordon
0 appearances, 31 years old, 6ft 4, Scotland, 40 caps
Signed July 2014, Free
To be honest, it is difficult to know what to make of this one, firstly, let’s remember that Gordon was a top class goalkeeper who Sunderland paid £9million for in 2007, he performed excellently for Hearts and Sunderland for many years as well as establishing himself as Scotland number 1 ahead of Alan McGregor. At 31 he is somewhat older than our usual ideal signing targets but if he can stay fit then he could still play at the top level for 5 years or more.
Interestingly we were rumoured to be interested in Gordon back in 2011 before we took Forster back on loan for a second season, so he has perhaps been on the scouting list for some time.
Gordon has not played a first team game since April 2012 and has been without a club since May 2012, hopefully in those two years his body has healed and his hunger to make the most of the remainder of his career has grown – if so, then we could have one hell of a goalkeeper on our hands. Or he will get an injury and never play for Celtic… In my opinion, a chance well worth taking.
38, Leonardo Fasan
0 appearances, 20 years old, 6ft 2, Italy
I haven’t heard much of him but he seems to be a promising young goalkeeper and he played the second half of the friendly against Krasnodar, making some great saves as we were getting pounded at times. It would seem unlikely that he will get much of a look in for the first team this season unless one or more of the other keepers that we have were to move on.