City's hopes for Pearson hit by a Rams’ raid
DAVID CUFFLEY Derby have struck a potentially damaging blow to Norwich City's chances of signing top target Stephen Pearson - by having their bid for the highly-rated midfielder accepted by Celtic.
Derby have struck a potentially damaging blow to Norwich City's chances of signing top target Stephen Pearson - by having their bid for the highly-rated midfielder accepted by Celtic.
The Scotland international was at Pride Park to watch Saturday's FA Cup game against Wrexham and have talks with his former Motherwell manager, Billy Davies.
The Rams are believed to have offered just over £800,000 for Pearson, but Celtic boss Gordon Strachan has revealed that three clubs have made formal bids for the 24-year-old.
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Davies said: “We're hoping we can bring Stephen here. We've agreed a fee with Celtic and he would be a valuable addition to our squad.”
City boss Peter Grant has expressed his admiration for Pearson - “one of these guys that would make us better, that's for sure, if he was available” - while another former Celtic midfielder, Sunderland boss Roy Keane, has been linked with a move for the attacking midfielder.
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Preston have previously expressed interest in Pearson, even after Davies left the North End hot seat.
The Rams boss had a £750,000 offer for the player rejected in August but Pearson has since been told he can leave by Strachan after failing to hold down a regular first-team slot.
Pearson signed for Celtic from Motherwell for £350,000 in January 2004.
Meanwhile, City's longest-serving player, Craig Fleming, could be on his way out of Carrow Road.
The 35-year-old club captain is being targeted by League One side Bournemouth, who are managed by former Norwich captain Kevin Bond.
“He has given fantastic service to Norwich,” said Bond. “He has got lots of experience and is a dependable centre-half.
“I definitely think he would be the kind of person I would like at the club.
“I am led to believe he might be surplus to requirements at Norwich and if that is the case I would certainly like to explore the possibility of persuading him to come here.”
Fleming has started just six first team matches this season and a move to Grant's former club may appeal - especially as he also knows Bond's assistant, former Norwich defender Rob Newman.
Fleming is out of contract at the end of the season and, while he was not included in the squad for the FA Cup win at Tamworth on Saturday, he is in the City Reserves side against Tottenham at Carrow Road tonight (7.30pm).
Fleming was not available for comment today.