By Rob Stewart
Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon seems destined to quit Sunderland in a bid to reinvigorate a career that has been blighted by injury following his record-breaking £9 million move to the Stadium of Light, Goal.com can reveal.
The former Heart of Midlothian skipper, who has been linked with Celtic and Arsenal, is currently out injured but it appears certain that he has no long-term future at the Wearside club as they aim to cash in on a player who will be available on a free transfer next summer when his current contract expires.
The 28-year-old has been told by Sunderland manager Steve Bruce that he will not even discuss a new deal until he recovers from his current knee problems - and that is paving the way for Gordon to leave the Premier League club.
“Craig will almost certainly be leaving Sunderland,” a source close to Gordon told Goal.com. “There’s not a lot to be said but Sunderland are not going to suddenly turn around and offer him a bumper five-year contract, are they?
“He’s had rotten luck with injuries but he’s still a top-class goalkeeper. There has been plenty of talk that Arsenal and Celtic are interested in Craig but so far that is only talk and we will have to see what happens.”
Gordon, who was reported to be interesting Manchester United last season, has slipped down the pecking order at Sunderland thanks to his injury problems and is now behind Simon Mignolet and Kieren Westwood in the quest for a first-team slot.
He has managed just 53 appearances in the last three seasons since heading to England from Scotland in 2007 during Roy Keane’s reign as the Black Cats' manager when he became the most expensive goalkeeper in British football with a £9m transfer and five-year contract.
Bruce has made no secret of how highly he rates Gordon but remains concerned about the player's injury problems, and with the former Manchester United skipper having to trim the wage bill at Sunderland, Gordon’s long-term future has been thrown into doubt.
Sunderland would listen to offers for Gordon but with the player currently recovering from knee surgery, a move in the January transfer window could be on the cards as the club attempt to recoup some of the money paid out for his services.
Doubts over his fitness mean that a move this summer is improbable. Gordon is aiming to re-assert his claim for a starting slot early next season but is unlikely to be content with being an understudy and a lack of first-team opportunities could prompt him to push for a move sooner rather than later.