Late deadline day deals for former Norwich City duo at West Brom
There was a late flurry of activity from Norwich City's promotion rivals West Brom beyond the 11pm transfer deadline last night, as two former Canaries were signed for the second half of the season.
City academy product Jacob Murphy was being linked with a loan move to the Baggies during recent weeks and that switch was finally confirmed at 11.30pm, after the appropriate paperwork was lodged in time.
The 23-year-old was announced as part of an impressive triple loan swoop, alongside Fulham midfielder Stefan Johansen and Swansea winger Jefferson Montero.
It later emerged that Canaries legend Wes Hoolahan had signed an extension to his deal with the Baggies as well, which had initially been until January, with the option of an extension until the end of the campaign.
The 36-year-old Irish playmaker has only made eight appearances for Darren Moore’s promotion hopefuls – who are four points adrift of Norwich in fourth place with a game in hand – but started a 0-0 draw at top-flight Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.
Hoolahan said: “I was absolutely thrilled when the gaffer gave me the call to tell me he wanted to extend my stay.
“I’m happy to play whatever role is required of me – as long as the boys are winning, that’s all that matters. It’s a great group of lads to be around and although I had options it was an easy decision to stay here.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting end to the season and I can play a part in what we’re all trying to achieve.”
The contract extension does provide one potential sticking point, as Hoolahan’s City testimonial is due to be played at Carrow Road on Monday, May 6, the day after the final games of the regular season.
The celebration match alongside fellow club legend Russell Martin, featuring two teams of Norwich legends, could prove awkward as if the Baggies were in the play-offs Hoolahan may be unable to play in the fund-raising exhibition – if he is still in contention for Moore’s matchday squads.
Meanwhile, the signing of Murphy on loan puts the winger in competitions with the Canaries in the promotion race, having been part of the FA Youth Cup winning squad in 2013 alongside twin brother Josh, being brought up in west Norfolk.
Moore, speaking to his club’s website, added: “He’s another exciting young prospect for English football, an England Under-21 international who has got qualities I think our supporters will enjoy.
“He has bags of energy, plenty of pace and a freshness which will be a welcome addition to the team. I’m really thrilled we have got him in.”
Murphy was sold to Newcastle in the summer of 2017 in a deal worth £10m up front, potentially rising to £12.5m, after scoring 10 goals in 42 games for Norwich, but is yet to establish himself in the Premier League.