Norwich City sign Leeds United midfielder Jonny Howson
18:08 24 January 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Norwich City have signed midfielder Jonny Howson from Championship club Leeds United on a three-and-a-half year deal.
The 23-year-old is City’s first signing of the January transfer window after the clubs revealed last week a transfer fee had been agreed.
City boss Paul Lambert confirmed on Friday morning that Howson was in Norfolk to undergo a medical after agreeing personal terms to join the Canaries.
Howson is currently sidelined with a knee injury that has kept him out since early December - but Lambert insisted that is not a concern.
Lambert said: “I know the extent of it (the injury). He is doing really fine at the minute and I have no worries on that. His rehab has gone really well and I don’t think he is too far away, which is pleasing. He has to be sure in his own head when he is totally fit and if he is, then we’ll look to get him involved.
“I think he has been brilliant for them and being the captain of that football club, where the demands are so high, to be captain at such a young age he certainly knows what he is doing. I just think he’ll add goals to the midfield - which I think we need - he can do that. He’ll get better as a player going up a higher level.”
Meanwhile, Leeds counterpart Simon Grayson told his club’s official site on Friday lunchtime. “I spoke with Jonny when the offer came in and he’s always made it clear he wants to play Premier League football. He wanted to do that here, and while it’s what we’re striving for we can’t guarantee that. An offer has come in from a club who is in the Premier League and now he has the chance to play Premier League football as soon as he is fit again.
“It’s a good decision from our point of view because we’ve agreed a good deal a player who is currently unavailable through injury, who has six months remaining on his contract, and who could have left in the summer for nothing. That money will go into what we are trying to do here in terms of adding to my squad, and Jonny will go with the best wishes and thanks of everyone connected with the club.”
Jonny Howson told Leeds United’s official website: “Decision-wise, this is the biggest decision I’ve had to make in my life.
“There’s so many things I’ve had to look at and think about. I found out on Tuesday morning about the bid and spoke to the gaffer, and it’s been a mad week. Decision-wise it’s been so tough.
“The reason is Premier League. I am going to a very good club with good support, but at the same time I know I’m leaving a club I’ve loved from being such a young boy. That’s not going to change. The hardest thing was leaving somewhere I’ve been from six or seven years of age, and it’s been hard.
“It’s been a massive part of my life, but this is a great chance for me. This is the sort of chance that doesn’t come around that often and it’s a chance I feel I have to take while it’s there. This is a great chance for me because you can’t guarantee anything in football and when you get a chance like this you have to make the most of it.”
“It’s been no secret that my ambition is to play in the Premiership and that’s why we never got round to sorting the contract because we don’t know where Leeds United are going to be and I wanted to give myself a chance of playing in the Premiership,” he explained.
“I can understand why the club has sold me now because it’s better to get something now than at the end of the season. I’m going to a great club, they are flying high, doing ever so well, and they have a great team that we’ve been close to here over the past couple of seasons, and they have a great manager as well.”
“It makes it harder because when you see a reaction like that you realise you mean something to them, and you don’t always realise,” said Jonny.
“I was the club captain and from the area, but it was me that was still wanting to play in the Premiership and from the club’s point of view I would have done the same thing if I was in their shoes.
“It was a case of getting something a few months before rather than nothing at all in the summer and if you look at it that way, rather than ‘homegrown lad who was captain’ you understand it more.”
“The past few games, from what I’ve heard, they haven’t been playing well but it shows signs of a good side who can pick up points when not playing well,” said Jonny.
“It’s seven points from nine now without playing well so it’s not bad. With regards to getting promoted, I think they can.
“Everyone involved with the club wants to get there. I believe they can, they have some terrific, talented players, and in this league if you can put a run together you can get out of it, but it is tough at the same time. I really hope they can get out of this league.
“Everyone at Leeds is wanting Premier League football. I know how much the players and the staff want it, but you can’t guarantee that. The ambition is always here at this club, but as I’ve said it’s not guaranteed.”