City youngster seals Scottish loan move
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City youngster Reece McAlear is set for his first taste of loan action, as he heads to the Scottish Championship.
It’s been confirmed this morning that the midfielder is joining Inverness Caledonian Thistle for the 2021-22 season. The 19-year-old is believed to have 12 months remaining on his Norwich contract.
McAlear made his Championship debut in November, coming on at right-back for the injured Max Aarons in the 89th minute of a 1-1 home draw with Coventry when City were in the midst of an injury crisis.
The Scot was also named on the bench for five other first-team matches this season and has been a regular starter at under-23 level since joining from Motherwell in the summer of 2019.
Reports at the time suggested the Canaries had agreed a £250,000 fee for the Scotland youth international, with a series of potential performance-related add-on fees.
The Scottish Sun had reported that West Ham and Leicester were also interested in McAlear, who had made his debut for Motherwell’s under-20 team at just 15 years old – with the North Lanarkshire club begrudgingly agreeing to sell.
Tall and with good technique in possession, the youngster scored once in 24 games at U23 level for City this season, playing every minute of the Development squad’s four games in the Papa John’s Trophy.
Caley Thistle saw a seven-season stint in the Scottish top flight come to an end in 2017 and have been pushing for a return ever since under John Robertson.
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The former Hearts and Scotland striker took compassionate leave in February following a family bereavement and interim manager Neil McCann steered them clear of relegation and to a final position of fifth.
Robertson has returned to the club but as sporting director, with former Aberdeen and Scotland striker Billy Dodds taking over as head coach.
Dodds told his club's website: “Absolutely delighted to get the deal done to bring Reece to the club.
“Reece is an athletic midfielder with a great range of passing and we’re delighted to add competition to our midfield.
“Norwich paid a high fee for him to take him from Motherwell so he is well thought of at Norwich City.”
McAlear joins a long line of Norwich players who have been on loan in Scotland in recent years, the most high profile of which was James Maddison at Aberdeen during the first half of 2016-17.
Carlton Morris, Remi Matthews (Hamilton), Akin Famewo, Isak Thorvaldsson (St Mirren) and Aidan Fitzpatrick (Queen of the South) are all among the Norwich players to have had loan experience in Scotland, with goalkeeper Daniel Barden recently linked with a loan at Livingston.
Canaries loans manager Neil Adams had over 20 players to keep an eye on across the course of this season and McAlear is the first confirmed loan exit ahead of 2021-22.