Canaries confirm third summer signing as Schalke keeper completes loan switch
PUBLISHED: 17:01 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 18:03 05 July 2019
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Norwich City have completed the season-long loan signing of Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann, bringing in a third first-team addition ahead of their Premier League return.
Reports emerged from Germany in recent weeks that the 30-year-old had been in contact with the Canaries and the former Germany Under-21 international has now arrived on a season-long to provide strong competition for current City number one Tim Krul.
Reports from the continent suggested a loan fee as high as £2.5million would be involved but that a permanent option would not be included, for a keeper who was playing in the Champions League last season - and Schalke have extended his contract by a year to 2023 despite sanctioning the loan deal.
"I'm really glad and proud to sign here. To be a part of the Premier League, I think it's a wonderful thing for all, not only for me but also for the fans and supporters of Norwich City," Fahrmann said.
"There were a few clubs who showed interest in me, but Norwich gave me a very familiar feeling and that was the reason why the decision was easy for me.
"I was at my old club for a really long time, over 14 years, and it felt like it was time for something new.
"Therefore, it was the perfect time now with Norwich in the Premier League. I've heard only the best things about the city and I'm looking forward to getting to know Norwich better."
Fahrmann has spent the majority of his career with the Gelsenkirchen club and has almost 200 Bundesliga appearances on his CV, having also spent two seasons with Eintracht Frankfurt.
However, after wearing the captain's armband for the first half of a disappointing last campaign, he spent the second half either injured or covering for highly-rated youngster Alexander Nubel.
Schalke slumped from runners-up in the Bundesliga in 2018, to finishing 14th last season, although they did reach the first knockout stages of the Champions League.
Fahrmann kept clean sheets in home and away wins over Lokomotiv Moscow as Schalke qualified from a group also including Porto and Galatasaray, but he was then also in goal for both legs as they were thrashed 10-2 on aggregate by Manchester City in the last 16.
Former Huddersfield boss David Wagner has since been appointed and the Canaries are due to face Schalke in a pre-season friendly during their training camp in Germany later this month, on Friday, July 19.
Speaking to City's website, the 6ft 5ins tall keeper added: "I watched the Premier League last season and a bit of Championship. It was an incredible season, topped with the Championship title. I saw many photos of the parade and celebration and it was really impressive.
"Of course, I think everyone dreams of playing in the Premier League - it is the best league in the world and to compete with the best clubs and players is a dream for everyone and therefore, I'm looking forward to next season.
"Daniel (Farke, head coach) always follows his plan and signed a new contract last season. That's also a reason why I signed my contract here.
"I like it when somebody thinks about football a lot and loves it that much."
Fahrmann was a team-mate of City's star striker Teemu Pukki at Schalke between 2011 and 2013, with German reports also suggesting the keeper is friends with Norwich coach and analyst Christopher John.
Schalke sporting director Jochen Schneider, discussing Fahrmann's contract extension, told his club's website: "With the contract extension we have implemented a long ago commitment of the association. Ralf as a figure of identification is a strong piece of Schalke,
"It will still be strange to see him in another jersey next season. We sincerely wish him a successful Premier League season and look forward to his return in summer 2020."
The arrival completes Farke's keeper options ahead of pre-season fixtures beginning, with Krul signing a new deal to extend his terms until 2022 since his key role in last's season's Championship title success.
Northern Ireland veteran Michael McGovern also signed a new contract earlier in the year, extending his deal until 2021, and is expected to be third choice - with U23 keeper Aston Oxborough likely to go out on loan.
The signing follows on from the season-long loan of Manchester City winger Patrick Roberts and Switzerland striker Josip Drmic on a free transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach.
Top-flight clubs are limited to a maximum of two loans from fellow Premier League or Football League clubs per season, but overseas signings such as Fahrmann do not contribute towards that quota, although Roberts does.
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The German keeper is City's second signing of the day, although Scottish winger Aidan Fitzpatrick will start out with the under-23 squad after impressing at Partick Thistle.