Planes, claims and busy mobiles – just the usual transfer deadline day for Norwich City
Norwich City bagged a new striker on a fascinating transfer deadline day, but there were also ones that got away – despite a private jet laid on to fly their main aim to Norwich.
Leeds striker Luciano Becchio saw his expected move to Carrow Road confirmed at lunchtime on Thursday, with Steve Morison’s switch in the opposite direction also sealed. Both players put pen to paper on three and a half year deals.
But that news was only the precursor to hours of speculation – primarily surrounding their month-long pursuit of Celtic striker Gary Hooper.
The Canaries reportedly made a fourth bid for the forward on Thursday morning believed to be worth £7m, which was rejected by the Glasgow club.
Externally, there was a sense of a possible deal to be done throughout the day – including a privately chartered jet scheduled to land at Norwich from Glasgow little more than an hour before the 11pm deadline.
But that jet arrived in Norwich empty, with hopes of Hooper being flown in for a dramatic deadline day swoop ended soon after 9pm.
With Celtic’s asking price rising to £10m and their own attempts to land Wolves striker Kevin Doyle failing, boss Neil Lennon tweeted: “Contrary to reports there have been no fresh bids for Gary (since the morning) and even if there are they will be rejected...he is NOT for sale.”
The future of City’s other striker target, Swansea’s Danny Graham, also looked up in the air during the morning after Championship side Middlesbrough produced a shock £5m bid – effectively confirming the former Watford forward’s desire to move back to his native North East.
Boro’s interest led only to a quick resolution of Graham’s eventual destination, soon unveiled as a £5m Sunderland signing.
However, Norwich boss Chris Hughton was not only linked with attacking reinforcements.
Early Thursday reports had a bid on Birmingham’s table of £2m plus Canaries centre-back Leon Barnett for Curtis Davies. But in the end the cash-strapped Blues’ hopes of getting £4m for their key defender left a stalemate that could not be overcome before the window closed.
At least the Canaries could look to a new face in time for their trip to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday lunchtime in the form of 29-year-old former Boca Juniors forward Becchio, who admitted talking to his former Leeds colleagues Jonny Howson and Robert Snodgrass had helped him make his decision.
“I wanted to come to Norwich and my family did also – it is a great opportunity for me,” said Becchio. “The Premier League has a massive following and is the best league. I want to get into the team quickly if I can; I am ready.
“I had very good memories of Leeds so it is a bit sad to leave, but that is football. I can only say thank you to all the fans of Leeds, they will always be in my head.”
An additional £200,000 reportedly followed Morison to Leeds as part of the deal to bring in Becchio.
Newly signed loan forward Kei Kamara’s transfer was completed on Wednesday, with clearance from the UK Border Agency for him to be allowed into the country hoped to arrive in time for Fulham’s visit to Carrow Road next weekend.