Canaries lose out in race for Anderson

DAVID CUFFLEY The pulling power of the Premiership was today set to foil City boss Peter Grant in his pursuit of another summer transfer target, Aberdeen skipper Russell Anderson.


The pulling power of the Premiership was today set to foil City boss Peter Grant in his pursuit of another summer transfer target.

The Canaries have made inquiries about Aberdeen skipper Russell Anderson, who looks certain to be sold a year before the end of his contract to ease the Dons' debts of £9 million.

But Anderson was reported to be in Sunderland this morning discussing a £1m move to Roy Keane's newly-promoted side. He and his agent, Blair Morgan, were at the Stadium of Light for talks after the player returned from a family holiday in America to be told of Keane's interest.

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Sunderland's North-East rivals, Middlesbrough, have also been linked to the central defender, and Grant accepts that the prospect of Premiership football - and a Premiership salary - is likely to prove decisive.

He said: “Russell's a very good player, there's no doubt of that. There's no doubt I would be interested.

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“Aberdeen will be looking for £1m and he's out of contract next summer.

“He's 28 years old, a current international and somebody I've inquired about, but I believe there is Premier League interest there and if there's Premier League interest, that would blow our wage structure out of the water.”

Anderson, capped seven times by Scotland during his 11 years at Pittodrie, enjoyed a testimonial against Everton last year and said later he would be happy to see out his career with his home club.

But Aberdeen boss Jimmy Calderwood admitted a seven-figure offer for a player who is out of contract a year from now could prove too good to turn down.

Before news broke of Sunderland's offer, he said: “As a manager you always want more but we will have to wait for when, or if, a bid comes in.

“If, and I hope nothing comes of it, a bid does come in for a player who has a year left on his contract then any club, including Rangers and Celtic, has to look at it seriously.”

Sunderland now appear to have won the race for Anderson, though boss Roy Keane was also said to be considering a £5m raid on West Bromwich Albion for defensive duo Paul McShane and Paul Robinson. Middlesbrough were named as another option for Anderson, but are thought to be looking for younger recruits.

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne admits the club cannot compete with the lure of the Premiership.

Milne said: “Russell has reached the stage in his career where what we can afford to pay him and what he might get in England are miles apart. I would love to see him spend the rest of his career at Pittodrie because he epitomises what Aberdeen are all about. But when you see the wages available down south, who could blame him for looking?

“I hope it doesn't come to that but if he does leave, it would be with our blessing and gratitude for all he's done.”

City need to strengthen the centre of defence with Gary Doherty, Jason Shackell and 38-year-old Dion Dublin providing the only experience in that department, and Dublin has admitted he prefers playing in attack.

But Watford defender Clarke Carlisle, linked with Norwich, was not on a list of possible targets, said Grant.

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