Canaries confirm interest in Strihavka
CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City have moved a step closer to securing the signature of David Strihavka after the Canaries confirmed their interest in the Czech striker. But while Canaries boss Peter Grant prepares to make the 6ft 3in front-man his sixth signing of the summer, speculation continues to mount over the future of midfielder Youssef Safri.
Norwich City have moved a step closer to securing the signature of David Strihavka after reportedly agreeing personal terms with the Czech striker.
But while Canaries boss Peter Grant prepares to make the 6ft 3in front-man his sixth signing of the summer, speculation continues to mount over the future of midfielder Youssef Safri.
Sources claim the Moroccan's move to West Bromwich Albion is simply awaiting an official offer from the Midlands club - and that the Baggies don't expect there to be any major stumbling blocks as far as the financial package is concerned.
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Frenchman Julien Brellier, a defensive-midfielder, signed for City this week - a move which suggests that Grant has Safri's position covered should the player opt to move to The Hawthorns.
Safri is a fans' favourite at Carrow Road, but he and Grant haven't always seen eye to eye - and there is the added concern that Safri looks likely to miss a crucial part of the season when the African Cup of Nations begins in January.
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City declined to comment on Safri's position yesterday, although they did, for the first time, confirm the interest in Strihavka.
“We can confirm talks with David Strihavka and his representatives are on-going but there is nothing further to report at this stage,” said head of media Joe Ferrari.
According to Banik Ostrava, his club in the Czech league, all that is left is for agreement to be reached over the transfer fee after personal terms were reached on a four-year deal.
Strihavka is believed to have a get-out clause in his contract allowing him to leave if his club receives an offer of one million euros - much the same as the one which saw Robert Earnshaw leave Carrow Road for Derby County last week for £3.5m.
While City have kept their cards close to their chest, Strihavka and Banik have been more forthcoming.
“We have been informed that David has agreed terms with the club,” Banik chairman Jakub Kahoun told the club's web site. “Now we need to come to an agreement with Norwich ourselves.”
Strihavka is back in the Czech Republic after a busy trip to England persuaded him to agree to a move.
“I'm shattered, it was a real marathon,” he said. “I flew into London on Tuesday morning, then travelled up to Norwich and had a medical that seemed to go on for ever. I got to the hotel at two in the morning and we were still discussing a possible contract at three.
“When I got to the stadium, it all fell into place: a fantastic, 26,000-capacity arena, wonderful surroundings and pleasant people who lived up to my expectations.
“I spoke to the manager, who had been assistant manager at West Ham. They told me they'd bought two lads and a goalkeeper from Celtic and that they wanted promotion to the Premier League. It was too good to refuse.”
Had the lure of England not persuaded him, Strihavka could well have stayed in the Czech league, where he was second highest scorer with 13 goals last season.
“It looks like the squad will be really strong, with Venca Sverkos they'll be a real force,” he said. “I felt it would have been worth staying in the league, but in the end I was swayed by the fact that the offer came from England, even if it is the second league.
“It's an enormous opportunity and I take it as a challenge. At the same time, I know what a fantastic move it was to have come to Banik in the first place. Without this club I would never have been in the position I'm in now.
“A weight has been lifted from my shoulders now that everything going on around me has been sorted out and I can just concentrate on football. In England I'm sure I'll be able to learn a lot, including an even more professional approach to football.
“I'm not worried about the language, I already speak a little English and I'm sure I'll soon get used to it.
“I'll still have to put in an appearance at Ostrava, but on Monday I have to report for training at Norwich. Then in a week we go on a training camp in the Netherlands. And then it all starts.”