City face new rivals for McCourt

Michael Bailey Norwich City will face a battle with Scottish champions Celtic to land winger Patrick McCourt after West Brom ended their chase for his signature.The Evening News understands the Canaries were to match Albion's offer of £150,000 for the 24-year-old Derry City star and had already topped the personal terms on offer from the Baggies, with McCourt out of contact in November and free to talk to other clubs.

Michael Bailey

Norwich City will face a battle with Scottish champions Celtic to land winger Patrick McCourt after West Brom ended their chase for his signature.

The Evening News understands the Canaries were to match Albion's offer of £150,000 for the 24-year-old Derry City star and had already topped the personal terms on offer from the Baggies, with McCourt out of contact in November and free to talk to other clubs.

However, West Brom ended their chase for the Irishman after it became clear he was considering offers from other clubs who could provide a better chance of first team football.


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“While we are trying to get the first team right for the Premier League, we are also looking to bring in players to strengthen the underbelly of the club,” boss Tony Mowbray told the Baggies' official website.

“It's a process we started last season and Pat was one of a few players we are looking to bring in - but on our terms. These are players who, while we're trying to develop their talent, can step into the first team at any given time.

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“However, during the club's discussions with Pat, it became clear he has other options where he feels he may have a greater opportunity to play first team football and we wish him all the best.”

While Celtic are still in the hunt for big signings during the summer, it is believed the Bhoys are also keen on securing McCourt's services and will hold talks with the player over the coming days.

McCourt had looked set for a move to the West Midlands after the Derry board accepted the Baggies' initial bid last week, which included the Premier League side travelling to Brandywell for a friendly game next February - netting around £50,000 for the Eircom League side.

McCourt was in the Midlands to secure the deal this week and, even yesterday, Derry City were claiming they expected McCourt to complete his move to West Brom.

However, McCourt clearly has options on the table and it is believed the Canaries and Celtic are the clubs now battling for the winger's signature.

The former Rochdale player has previous City connections, having spend a week on trial at Norwich under Nigel Worthington in September 2003, as a 19-year-old at Rochdale.

Four years later, McCourt was all set to become a Norwich player for Peter Grant in a £75,000 move, but the transfer followed Grant out of the Canaries exit following his departure last autumn.

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