Scottish winger Fitzpatrick finally joins Norwich City as U23 squad overhaul continues
PUBLISHED: 18:10 05 July 2019 | UPDATED: 18:10 05 July 2019
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Norwich City’s prolonged pursuit of Aidan Fitzpatrick has finally proved successful, with the Scottish winger’s permanent switch from Partick Thistle confirmed.
The Canaries have been chasing the talented 18-year-old since January but it wasn't until earlier this week that the Scottish Championship side confirmed they had accepted a bid from Norwich.
Fitzpatrick then travelled south to have a medical, with reports north of the border suggesting the deal agreed was for an initial £350,000, with potential performance related add-on fees to follow and a sell-on clause included.
With Scottish giants Rangers and Celtic both mentioned as interested parties recently as well, Fitzpatrick is set to initially join City's under-23 squad.
It's understood Norwich have begun a major push to improve the quality of their development squad following promotion to the Premier League, looking to secure some top talent for the club's future.
Sporting director Stuart Webber said he liked the phrase "invest more time in the root, rather than the fruit" in one of his interviews this summer and the U23 squad is a key part of that, particularly if the self-funded Canaries are not able to survive in the top flight this season.
That's meant Webber has been willing to pay small fees where required, such as the reported £300,000 for England U18 midfielder Daniel Adshead from Rochdale or £100,000 for Belgium U21 defender Rocky Bushiri from Oostende.
Anderlecht left-back Rob Nizet and Aberdeen goalkeeper Archie Mair, both youth internationals, have also already been added and more are expected to follow ahead of the Thursday, August 8 transfer deadline.
While some of that young talent could leave on loan this season to immediately gain some senior experience, Fitzpatrick has already enjoyed a breakthrough season in the second tier in Scotland, scoring seven goals in 30 games for Partick during 2018-19.
He has been capped at U17 and U18 level for Scotland and was under contract until 2021 at Partick, with a bid from City in January reportedly worth £150,000 up front and £400,000 overall rejected and with Jags boss Gary Caldwell saying at the time: "There is little doubt in my mind that Aidan will, at some point in his career, move on and potentially play at the very highest level.
"However, I would like to make it clear it would take an extraordinary bid for the club to even contemplate it. We are happy with Aidan's development and he is happy to be playing at this football club."
A statement on Partick's website confirming the deal said: "Partick Thistle can today confirm that attacker, Aidan Fitzpatrick, has left the club to join Norwich City for an undisclosed fee, subject to international clearance.
"The Thistle Weir Youth Academy graduate enjoyed a breakout season with Thistle last campaign scoring seven goals in 30 competitive appearances.
"The 18-year-old became the first Thistle player born in the 2000s to play and score for the club when he netted on his debut 12 months ago.
"Everyone at the club wishes Aidan well as he embarks on the next stage of his career."
He now joins the Canaries knowing that Max Aarons, Jamal Lewis, Todd Cantwell and Ben Godfrey have all progressed from the club's academy and into the first team in recent seasons, with Republic of Ireland U21 striker Adam Idah the latest youngster set for senior opportunities after signing a long-term contract.
U23 players already out on loan deals include defenders Caleb Richards (Tampa Bay Rowdies) amd Ciaren Jones (Eastbourne Borough), wingers Josh Coley (Dunfermline Athletic) and Simon Power (Ross County) and striker Mason Bloomfield (Crawley), after a host of similar loan deals in recent seasons for young City players.