City go for Murray

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City are close to clinching a deal to bring Scotland international Ian Murray to Carrow Road.


Norwich City are close to clinching a deal to bring Scotland international Ian Murray to Carrow Road.

Canaries boss Peter Grant confirmed that he had spoken to Rangers about a deal for the versatile 26-year-old, who has been released from his contract at Ibrox.

The EDP understands that Grant's interest has reached an advanced stage, with talks continuing yesterday, and that Murray, who can play midfield or defence, could even be in the squad for the trip to Hull.

Murray was in the final year of his contract at Ibrox and has been told by Gers manager Walter Smith that he is free to look for another club. While Sheffield Wednesday and Hertha Berlin are reportedly also interested, Grant jumped in quickly to persuade Murray to join the Scottish contingent at Carrow Road until the end of the season.

“Murray is a good player,” said Grant. “I saw him a lot when he was at Hibs as a boy and he was captain when he was very, very young. He has all the attributes you look for in a player: a top class professional and left-sided - he can play left-back, left midfield, central midfield and centre-back and he can do them all well, that's the difference.

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“It is not as if he is a bit part, he is comfortable playing there. He has actually played at right-back for Rangers, even though he is left footed.

“I have spoken to Rangers about him, said that he was one I would be interested in. He is a good age, 26, I think he played 17 or 18 games after a bit of illness at the start of last season and missed a couple of months of the season, and came back in. He is one I have always liked. He was captain of Hibs at a very, very young age and that shows his leadership qualities. He's a good size, 6ft, 6ft 1, and a very good professional. I am sure he can add something to us.”

Rangers had initially looked for a transfer fee for Murray, but have decided to let him move for free.

“We took a decision based on the player's wishes, the manager's wishes and where he sits on our books,” said Rangers chief executive Martin Bain. “Ian was not going to feature so we are saving money on the wage bill.”

Murray joined Rangers in the summer of 2005 from Hibs, but suffered from reactive arthritis last season, an illness he has now shaken off.

Grant has been keen to sign another left-sided player, with the loss of Mark Fotheringham for up to three months with ankle ligament damage speeding up the search. He is also short of cover in central defence, where Jason Shackell and Gary Doherty have little in the way of competition.