Norwich City pulled out all the stops to swoop for Coventry City starlet James Maddison
06:30 20 February 2016
Norwich City’s dramatic swoop to win the race for Coventry City starlet James Maddison underlined Alex Neil is aiming to build a dynasty at Carrow Road.
Neil’s immediate priority is keeping the Canaries in the Premier League, but City beat the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool to seal a move for the highly-rated teenage midfielder. Maddison will link up with his new club in the summer after returning to the Sky Blues on loan following a late deadline night move that saw the 19-year-old complete his medical at St George’s Park to get the deal done, in transfer that cost Norwich a reported £2.5m up front plus a series of add-ons.
“We went after him aggressively. I think the fact we left it so late in the window certainly played into our favour,” said Neil. “If we had gone earlier we would have most likely lost him to a bigger team. I know there was one team in particular who were aggressively trying to not stop the deal but hi-jack it and we managed to get it across the line.
“We were pursuing another signing that night and we had money available for it. Unfortunately for us it didn’t transpire. We said and thought all along if we could add some more youth to the ranks for the club going forward then we wanted to highlight the best young players in the country, and he is certainly one who fell into that category. Once that other move didn’t go through we had money we wanted to put to good use and he was the one we highlighted.”
Neil is convinced Maddison has the talent to be fast-tracked into his first team plans.
“The bottom line is if he is ready and good enough it doesn’t matter what age he is,” he said. “He just has to be better or as good as the lads already here. There is no point in introducing young players if they are not as good. Physically, we need to do some work with him initially but there is no question about his talent.”