‘Persistence and desire’ of AEK Athens persuaded Oliveira to leave Norwich City on permanent deal
PUBLISHED: 17:39 20 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:25 21 July 2019
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Nelson Oliveira decided to join AEK Athens permanently from Norwich City after being impressed by the ‘persistence and desire’ of the Greek club in their pursuit of his signature.
City confirmed on Saturday afternoon that the Portuguese player had left on a permanent basis and it's understood that move did not involve a fee, as the final year of the striker's contract would have been worth in excess of £1million.
Oliveira had long been out of favour at Norwich and was not expected to feature again under head coach Daniel Farke, with sporting director Stuart Webber revealing they had expected the Portugal international to leave last summer.
However, he did not end up leaving until January and then scored three goals in 10 games of an injury-hit spell with Championship club Reading.
During that loan spell, he scored against Ipswich Town, but suffered facial injuries after a challenge by former Tractor Boys defender Tyrone Mings during a game against Aston Villa.
Despite Oliveira having been pictured training with one of the Berkshire side's fitness coaches ahead of pre-season, the Royals are under a 'soft transfer embargo'.
And AEK Athens have stepped in to sign the striker whose Carrow Road career started so promisingly, with fellow Portuguese coach Miguel Cardoso aware of his compatriot's ability.
Oliveira spoke to AEK's official YouTube channel, and said: "It was difficult to make the final decision to come here, but AEK showed persistence and desire to sign me.
"I am very grateful for the efforts which they made to take me to Greece, and on the pitch I will try to repay their faith. The fact that AEK have a Portuguese coach certainly helped me make the decision to sign for this club.
"AEK is a big team which was competing in the Champions League last year. I think that our target is to win the championship and I want to make my team-mates, the administration and the fans happy.
"I thank the supporters for the love which they have already showed me."
The former Benfica striker, had last featured for the Canaries on the final day of the 2017/18 season, in a 5-1 defeat away at Sheffield Wednesday.
The last of his 19 league goals came in a 2-2 draw away at Wolves that season, a speculative long-distance effort which eluded former Norwich keeper John Ruddy to grab a stoppage time equaliser.
The ex-Swansea and Nottingham Forest loan star had joined City for an undisclosed fee in August 2016 and went on to make 65 league appearances.
The 27-year-old netted 11 league goals in his first season, including a hat-trick against Derby County, but Farke dropped him for the first game of the 2017/18 season.
Oliveira came off the bench against Fulham and scored, defiantly removing his shirt in front of Farke in the Norwich dug-out.
He went on to score eight Championship goals that season, but the incident at Craven Cottage was considered by many supporters to be a tipping point in his relationship with the head coach.
Norwich have Teemu Pukki and Josip Drmic as front-line striker options for the Premier League, with Dennis Srbeny also in contention and Republic of Ireland U21 international Adam Idah hoping for first team chances after his showings in the pre-season tour of Germany.