Tim Krul and Angus Gunn are both exceptional goalkeepers.
One has made over 220 Premier League appearances and is a two-time Championship winner with City. The other has only played just a single season as a number 1, finishing midtable in the Championship in Daniel Farke’s maiden campaign.
On paper, there seems to be a clear winner, but over recent weeks, some debate has risen, pondering who should be City’s starting goalkeeper for next season.
Obviously, this discussion becomes quickly irrelevant if either is transferred over the coming months, but let’s assume for now that as we begin next season, both goalkeepers are still here.
Like most Norwich fans, I have a preferred starter and in this article, I’ll attempt to explain who and why.
Krul has been exceptional for Norwich since joining on a free transfer from Brighton in 2018. The Dutchman has been the main goalkeeper through two promotion-winning seasons and won Player of the Season in 2020, following City’s relegation from the top flight.
This season has been different though. Despite some good games, it’s clear that Krul hasn’t played to the standard he’s set for himself in yellow and green.
It’s also unknown whether Tim will want to spend another year in the Championship, especially as a backup, given that the Netherlands have qualified for this winter’s World Cup in Qatar and he has been heavily involved in the Dutch squad over recent international breaks.
However, I’m doubtful teams if too many teams in England, will be looking at Tim as an option as in his last few Norwich games, he’s not been playing at his usual level. If a move was on the cards, I anticipate it would be to a team elsewhere in Europe.
You might not be surprised to hear that this is one of Krul’s worst seasons, looking at the average number of goals conceded per game – 2.03 – beating the 1.88 from two seasons ago in the top flight.
It is worth remembering however that sandwiched between those two relegation seasons were two very good Championship campaigns. Last season, he kept 18 clean sheets in 36 games last year (albeit aided by the back four of Giannoulis, Gibson, Hanley and Aarons) and found himself in the WhoScored.com Championship Team of The Season.
Many were calling for Angus to re-sign in the summer of 2018, prior to Tim Krul’s arrival.
He had performed well in the season prior, and was wanted by a handful of clubs in the Premier League. One of those, Southampton, bought him for a reported £10 million, and he impressed on several occasions for the Saints, ending 2018-19 as their number 1, and playing a role at the start of the 2019-20 season.
Unfortunately, during his second season in the Premier League things started going downhill for the young Scot. He conceded an average of 2.5 goals a game after 10 games, and wouldn’t play for Southampton again – his last game being the infamous 9-0 defeat against Leicester City.
A loan move to Stoke, where he played against Norwich in a 4-1 defeat, followed before getting the move back to his boyhood club.
In his 11 games for City this season, he’s managed two clean sheets and, despite having a poor start against Crystal Palace and Arsenal, he’s been solid.
The win against Watford springs to mind as one of his best performances, with good games against Palace at home, Wolves and Leicester – despite the three-goal defeat – in the mix too.
Gunn’s lack of top-flight experience is one major reason to oppose him being Norwich’s starting goalkeeper as he only has one full season of senior experience (2017-18) and doesn’t have a positive reputation in the Premier League.
Additionally, I don’t think it’d make sense for Angus Gunn to sit on the bench for a Championship team next year. He’s still young for a goalkeeper, and being a backup keeper in the Championship would be a massive step backward in his career.
Despite this, Angus is a Norwich fan. I don’t think he’d want to leave the club where his name means so much, and the club he’s grown up supporting.
While there are compelling arguments for both Angus and Tim to be the starter, my pick would be the former.
He was brought in with the intention of being Tim’s replacement, and I think a full season in the Championship would be perfect for his development and for him to cement himself in as the main goalkeeper for City.
While I would love Krul to stay at the club, I’m not sure he will unless assurances are made that he can prove himself to Louis Van Gaal and the Netherlands camp. The World Cup has to be his priority going into next season, and he can’t prove himself if Angus is the number one.
I do still believe Tim’s experience and standing in the dressing room will be vital next season, so if there’s any way to negotiate his staying, I would be over the moon to see it happen.
The main take, though, is that City have two top goalkeepers, and whichever is the main man next season, I’m confident they can play a full part in any promotion push.
martin penney says
That’s an excellent and level-headed assessment and I for one agree with you.
Alan Gardner says
If Tim really want’s to play in the next World Cup, then a move to a Dutch/German team would make a lot of sense. Given his service to Norwich I do not think they will stand in his way. Therefore Angus has to start as No.1 Norwich has several younger keepers who need more game time to fully develop their potential.
Jamie Lauder says
Totally agree Alan. I doubt that the club would stand in his way if Tim wanted to leave. I think the amount of money reportedly spent on Angus last year says that they want him to be the Number 1 before too long, and if the right offer came in.
I’m certain Krul will be off as will Pukki and probably Hanley. Good players don’t stay at failing clubs.
The only positive from their exit would be convincing fans a change of ownership is desperately needed.
Jamie Lauder says
Really hope Pukki and Hanley stay, obviously. As stated in the article, I wouldn’t be too disappointed if Krul left, as we’ve got Angus raring to go, and McGovern as a backup. Totally agree if one of TP/GH goes it would be an awakening for some fans
Goalkeepers are probably at their best in their early thirties, no reason to write Tim off after a couple of deflections and a lessening of motivation. He is such an experienced player to have in your side and has helped the likes of Godfrey and Big Andy.
Gunn has got great potential,and a great love for you he club. He started as a winger so that can be an advantage.Should Krul decide to leave, he is the best replacement.
If he was to put himself forward, would he be able to play for Scotland?
Jamie Lauder says
Yes, he’d be eligible for Scotland’s national team, as he hasn’t received a first-team cap for England.
Wikipedia: “In March 2018, Gunn was offered the opportunity by Scotland manager Alex McLeish to switch allegiances to Scotland, but decided to stay with the England national team, and was called up by Gareth Southgate to their training camp ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”
Keith B says
When we were able to borrow Fraser Forster back in the day it was because Krul blocked his way into the Newcastle side. He’s way superior to Gunn.
If I were an opposing striker or penalty taker I would far sooner be up against Gunn than Krul.
If I were Grant Hanley trying to organise the defence and bring on the likes of Omo and Tompkinson I suspect I’d prefer Tim behind me keeping them on their toes.
But I agree that Krul is quite likely to fancy a move and now would be a good time to find out once and for all whether Gunn can make the number 1 spot his, and also identify a potential successor.
Jamie Lauder says
I think Tim is the better goalkeeper now, but long-term, Angus is surely viewed as his replacement. I doubt wither of them want to be on the bench next season, and rumour is, Tim wants a move anyway.
I do believe that is why we bought him .
Tim Ball says
I thought pre Man U (away) Tim was a certain starter next season if he wanted to stay.
But since Angus has took over he has been excellent. His save form Neto in the Wolves game at 1-1 was truly world class.
But let us not forget how good Tim was at Brighton.
Tough call for Dean that’s for sure, unless Tim has decided to move on, Holland possibly ?
Surely Tim Left Brighton on a free transfer as he was getting no game time
On 31 August 2017, Krul signed for Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion on a season-long loan, reuniting him with former Newcastle manager Chris Hughton. On 19 September, he made his debut for the club in an EFL Cup third round tie against AFC Bournemouth. The following day, he signed a permanent deal with Brighton, ending his twelve-year association with Newcastle.
At the end of the season, Krul left the club with only 1 game played
Tim Ball says
Sorry Alex I meant his performance for us at Brighton.
Yeah miss read that but then I am 71 and miss read many things these days 🤣🤣🤣🤣
You seem to have forgotten Barden another keeper with great potential and did well when he was thrown in the deepend during the title winning champaign.
Krul may have run his coarse with city and he did mention that he wanted to end his career on the continent so any reasonable offer I can see being accepted
Jamie Lauder says
I don’t think Barden is anywhere near ready to be first-choice.
Maybe number 2 if his loan spells had went well, but he’s had a lot of time out in chemo.
I agree that he has got a lot of potential, and resilience though.
Daniel Pope says
Goos piece but i ha e to pivk up on you writing ‘the young scot’ but Gunn is English and I think has refused a Scottish call up in the past.
For me I think Krul has decided to go. Gunn to be number 1 and then Mair, Barden or McCracken as number 2/3.
If the club wants an old head to provide bsck up then McGregor is leaving rangers on a free for a new challenge? I know we have McGovern but he hasn’t played football for about 5 years (I exaggerate I know).
Gary Gowers says
To be fair to Jamie, I think ‘young Scot’ was added in the sub-edit (ie. by me and nothing to do with him) but point taken and noted.
Angus is about as Scottish as you can possibly be without being born north of the border. If I was any good I’d be qualified for the RoI but I wasn’t so it was never an issue 🙂