Date:Wednesday July 18 2007
While Aston Villa might need a top-level goalkeeper, fans should not be annoyed if Sunderland sign Hearts shot-stopper Craig Gordon for £9million, as reports suggest will happen.
If any further evidence was needed that transfer fees have gone mad was needed, this is surely it - £9million from a club that, quite frankly, isn't very good at all. Although I've not personally checked, I think that will be the most money ever paid for a Scottish player, and the fact Gordon doesn't play for one of the two decent Scottish teams should say it all.
The news of the signing, assuming it does break, probably comes at a bad time for Villa fans who are still reeling from the signing of West Ham striker Marlon Harewood. But let me let you in on a little secret - while Gordon may be the best Scottish keeper, he is not even the best keeper in Scotland.
That title surely goes to Celtic's Artur Boruc, the Polish international who grabbed the headlines when he saved a penalty in the Champions League against Manchester United to send his club into the last-16. A fee of £9million would be acceptable, for he is arguably one of Europe's top-10 keepers at the moment. Gordon, on the other hand, is never worth more than £5million, even in today's transfer market.
Perhaps not many England-based Villa fans know too much about Scottish football, and to be fair that's a good thing. Personally, being in Ireland I get forced to watch Celtic time and time again, and consequently the other teams they more-often-than-not pummel into the ground. So I feel quite confident when I say it would be great, great news if O'Neill doesn't try and get involved in a bidding war.
Scotland international Gordon will do a good enough job for Sunderland, I'm sure, and I've a lot of respect for Roy Keane. But while he has shown he can motivate players, there are certainly question marks over his transfer dealings and some may argue he is looking as though he may become a chequebook manager.
So are there any keepers out there that Villa should go after? Well, if O'Neill really wants to spend up to £10million on a keeper (ie a Gordon-esque price) his best bet would be putting in a sneaky bid for Artur Boruc - though the Pole has suggested he would only move to the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Real Madrid or Manchester United, so perhaps we're not far enough along the five-year plan to manage that.
But does it really matter? Thomas Sorensen is a good enough keeper for this season, or until January at least, so perhaps O'Neill should look abroad and bring in a decent youngster for a decent price. If that youngster is good he can take over, if not he can go.
Whatever happens, and even if Villa do have to make do with the current keepers, wasting £9million on the unproven and untested (at a decent level) Gordon would be a reason to blast the boss, not cheer him!
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Date:Wednesday July 18 2007
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