NEIL LENNON is set to bring back former Hibs full back Steven Whittaker to Easter Road as his Championship winning side gears up for a return to the Premiership.
Lennon is close to adding on-loan defender Efe Ambrose to his squad for next season. The 28 year old Nigerian international is a free agent at the end of the month and has no future at Celtic. Ambrose’s proposed move to Blackburn Rovers fell through in January as the FA refused to grant a work permit so it looks like continuing to work with the manager who brought him to Scotland is on the cards for Ambrose.
And now it looks like Lennon is planning further defensive re-enforcements by bring back Whittaker. The full back left Easter Road a decade ago to join Rangers before moving to Norwich City.
The 32 year old has fallen out of favour at Carrow Road in recent months and like Ambrose, his contract ends later this month. Whittaker, who has played for Scotland on 31 occasions, is reported to be keen on a move back to Edinburgh. He made 140 appearances for the Easter Road club between 2002-07.
Lennon is eager to hit the ground running next season as he attempts to shift Aberdeen from their regular spot as the second force in Scottish football.
Whittaker has had a very good career and his time in England has been a success, below we take a look at other players who have moved from Scottish to English football to see how that have done.
Players Who Made the Leap from the SPL to the EPL
Football fans around England often make the derogatory statement that anyone can play in the Scottish Premiership. They even go on to say that comparing the standard of the English Premier League to its Scottish counterpart is like comparing a Bet365 bonuscode to promotions from inferior bookmakers.
However, because of the similarity in playing styles, EPL coaches often turn to players from the SPFL when they look for new signings. In fact, clubs such as Southampton, West Brom, Everton, Norwich and Burnley are likely to prefer to buy football players from Scotland because they know that the adaptation period for them ends when they start their first training session.
There have been numerous players who had played in Scotland for some time and then made the transition to the EPL successfully. Here we will look at the three most successful EPL players to have come from the SPFL (formerly the SPL).
Fletcher made the move to England after moving from Hibs. His first English club was Burnley, who signed him for a club record transfer fee of around £3 million in 2009. Fletcher was Burnley’s top goal scorer during the 2009/2010 season.
He moved clubs after the Lancashire club got relegated and joined Wolverhampton Wanderers again for a club record fee. Since Wolves played only with one striker under Mick McCarthy, Fletcher was used as a substitute to the, then inform Irishman, Kevin Doyle.
However, after Doyle got injured, Fletcher got his run in the first team and went on to score 5 goals in the next 5 games for the club. He finished his first season with 10 league goals and in his second season he scored 12.
After Wolves got relegated, he again moved clubs and joined Sunderland, where he stayed for four seasons, scoring 23 goals in all competitions during his time there. He currently plays for Sheffield Wednesday.
The talented Kenyan spent two years with Celtic before moving to the EPL to join Southampton and then Tottenham. During his time at Celtic he completely bossed the midfield and was instrumental in winning the club two Scottish titles and a Scottish Cup trophy.
Currently he is part of one of the most talented young teams in Europe and he looks set to play a leading role in Spurs winning a title or two in the next few seasons. It seems that Pochettino took Victor with him from Southampton to Tottenham for a reason.
The talented Spaniard made his name in Everton and Arsenal, but before that he played for two seasons for Glasgow Rangers. There, he quickly established himself as a fan favourite and helped the club win one SPL title and a Scottish League Cup trophy.
Arteta later revealed how his Glasgow experience helped him adapt so easily to the style of play in the EPL. He spent six years with Everton and five at Arsenal and won two FA Cup and two FA Community Shields during that period.
You could add Virgil van Dijk, Fraser Forster and many others to this list too, which all proves that the Scottish game remains capable of developing exciting footballers.
Anyone remember Kenny Dalglish? He didn’t do too badly at Liverpool did he!