Brown set to join City

Norwich City are close to completing the signing of Sunderland striker Chris Brown. The 22-year-old is in transfer talks with the Canaries yesterday after a bid was accepted by the Black Cats, understood to have been in excess of £500,000.

Norwich City are close to completing the signing of Sunderland striker Chris Brown.

The 22-year-old was reportedly in transfer talks with the Canaries yesterday after a bid was accepted by the Black Cats, understood to have been in excess of £500,000.

Sunderland boss Roy Keane confirmed yesterday that he had accepted a bid for Brown and fellow striker Jonathan Stead, although he refused to name the clubs involved.

"Jon Stead and Chris Brown were last night given permission to speak to clubs and they are in talks as we speak," confirmed Keane, who wants to balance the books after signing Anthony Stokes for £2.2m.

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The Canaries adopted their usual stance over transfer speculation yesterday, saying only: "As soon as there is something firm to report, we will do so."

However, it is understood a deal is close to being finalised and that Brown could be eligible for Saturday's home game against Plymouth Argyle.

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Brown was linked with City in the 2006 summer transfer window when Sunderland were reportedly after then City striker Leon McKenzie - with Brown a makeweight in the deal.

The 6ft 1in striker, who has scored 11 goals in 67 appearances since coming through the ranks and progressing to the first team in 2003, is out of contract in the summer.

Canaries boss Peter Grant has been using 37-year-old Dion Dublin as the "height" up front alongside the prolific Robert Earnshaw, and Brown would add not only competition but also youth to a role for which there have been few candidates since the departure of Iwan Roberts two and a half years ago. Former boss Nigel Worthington tried to fill the gap last summer, but attempts to bring the likes of Steven Howard and Rob Hulse to Carrow Road failed.

While the final details of the Brown move were being thrashed out there were also reports that City were interested in Bury hitman Andy Bishop.

Should that be the case, City could be involved in a fight with East Anglian rivals Ipswich, who are also keen on the 24-year-old.

Bishop has scored nine league and five FA Cup goals this season and would cost around £200,000.

While Brown has all the signs of being a "done deal", Grant's bid to bring Stephen Pearson to Carrow Road ended yesterday when the Celtic midfielder opted for Championship rivals Derby.

Grant appears to have lost out to the Pride Park millionaires who will pay the player £11,500 a week on a three-and-a-half-year deal - with a transfer fee of £800,000.

Pearson's agent, Willie McKay, said: "After visiting the club and seeing the facilities Stephen has decided Derby is the best option for himself."

"He had contact with Peter Grant at Norwich and he also spoke to Roy Keane at Sunderland, but having worked with Billy before he believes he can take the next step in his career.

"Billy trusts in him and he believes he can help him get back in the Scotland side, and with the position Derby are in Stephen is confident that he can help them in their pursuit of winning promotion with the players they have got."

It will be a huge blow to Grant - and the second time he has been disappointed by his former club, with reported target Derek Riordan apparently now happy at Celtic Park.

However, it may be a case of third time lucky, with Grant expected to hold talks with Hoops goalkeeper David Marshall - also represented by McKay - with a view to bringing the 21-year-old in on loan for the rest of the season.

"David is very interested in coming down," McKay said. "We're now just hoping that Celtic are going to allow him to come on loan.

"The problem might be the Champions League games coming up and who they put on the bench.

"Peter Grant has been in touch with Gordon Strachan. It would be a loan with an option for a transfer. David Marshall is very keen to go to Norwich."

Grant does have another iron in the fire, with his interest in former loan player Lee Camp still very much alive. Camp went back to Derby last month but Rams boss Billy Davies has indicated that he could be about to seal a permanent move to Carrow Road.

Davies' first choice is Stephen Bywater and he is refusing to sell Lee Grant - which means Camp could well be surplus to requirements.

"It is important we have two good goalkeepers on the books and as I expect something to happen with Campy, Granty stays here," said Davies.

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