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Norwich City pip rivals to Surman signing

PUBLISHED: 10:43 23 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:28 01 July 2010

New Norwich City signing Andrew Surman is unveiled at Carrow Road. Picture: Norwich City FC

New Norwich City signing Andrew Surman is unveiled at Carrow Road. Picture: Norwich City FC

David Cuffley

Norwich City beat off competition from at least two rival Championship clubs to land their fifth summer signing, midfielder Andrew Surman. League One club Southampton were also keen to re-sign the player they sold to Wolves for £1.2m last summer, according to reports.

Norwich City beat off competition from at least two rival Championship clubs to land their fifth summer signing, midfielder Andrew Surman.

League One club Southampton were also keen to re-sign the player they sold to Wolves for £1.2m last summer, according to reports.

The 23-year-old South African-born Surman joined the Canaries yesterday, moving from Molineux on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

He becomes the third midfielder recruited by manager Paul Lambert since the end of last season, following Andrew Crofts' arrival from Brighton and the capture of David Fox from Lambert's former club, Colchester.

Sheffield United were reported to be considering a £1m-plus bid for Surman, while Nottingham Forest, last season's Championship play-off semi-finalists, were said to be keen on a loan deal. But Lambert got his man and admitted he had followed former England Under-21 international Surman's progress over several seasons.

He said: “I first saw Andrew play a while back and have watched him progress with Southampton. He's got a terrific left foot and is very good on the ball.

“At 23 years old he's already got great experience and has played in the Premier League. He will give us balance and like everyone else he will come in and compete for a place. He certainly knows the Championship and I'm sure he will do well for us.”

The 5ft 10in Surman scored 18 goals in 146 appearances for Southampton in all competitions before his move to Wolves last summer. But he played just nine times in all competitions as Mick McCarthy's side finished 15th in the Premier League.

“I think in the games that I did play I learned a lot from,” he told the club's official website.

“Training with Premier League players every week improved my game but it was hard to swallow not playing as many games as I would have liked.

“But even travelling to Premier League grounds and watching games you do learn a lot from some of the best players in the world so it was a good experience for me.

“I spoke to Paul Lambert and really liked what he had to say.

“This is a club with massive ambition and having spoken to a few of the Southampton players who played against Norwich last season, they all had good things to say about this team. It is an exciting time for the club after promotion last season and being part of that is what really enticed me.

“I'm delighted to be here. It's a massive club and coming on the back of a brilliant promotion from League One last season I'm joining the club on the crest of a wave at the moment.

“For next season we've got to have the same hopes as last season and be pushing for at least the play-offs and look to get promoted again.”

Surman was certainly impressive against the Canaries in previous Championship outings and the Saints were reported to be keen to take the midfielder back to St Mary's Stadium.

He came through the youth ranks at Southampton and enjoyed loan spells at Walsall and Bournemouth. He scored the winner on his first league start for Walsall in the 1-0 win over Bristol City at Ashton Gate in February 2005.

In all, he made 14 appearances and scored twice for Walsall in 2005 and chalked up a further 28 appearances and six goals for Bournemouth in 2006, both in League One. On his return to St Mary's, he became a regular in Southampton's Championship side and in February 2007 he scored his only career hat-trick to date in the 5-2 home win over Barnsley. He helped the Saints reach the play-off semi-finals at the end of 2006-07, where they lost on penalties to Derby.

Born in Johannesburg to British parents, Surman made four appearances for England Under-21s, scoring once.

Meanwhile, Gillingham claim to have rejected a £500,000 bid from the Canaries for striker Simeon Jackson, who they value at £1.5m.

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